The business of Patreon

Patreon provides business infrastructure to independent content creators: people making videos, music, podcasts, paintings, comics, games, magazines and other forms of media for fans online. It helps them turn the small subset of superfans within their broader fan base into paying monthly patrons and manage relationships with those patrons across the web. Patreon is angling to become the dominant platform for creators to build these membership businesses, a position from which it could expand into other products and services for creators.
In this section of the EC-1, I am digging into the structure, performance and health of Patreon as a business. The sections are organized as follows:

Business model


User metrics

New revenue streams

Costs and efficiencies

Mergers and acquisitions

Investors and fundraising

My analysis of Patreon’s product, competitors, and overarching thesis have been spun out as their own articles.
Reading time for this article is about 20 minutes. Feature illustration by Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch.
it expects to process more than $500 million in payments in 2019. That would put the company’s 2019 revenue from its core Patreon platform at north of $50 million, given its 10 percent cut.
Back in May 2018, CEO Jack Conte said in a video that they would process $300 million in payments that year, implying roughly $30 million in revenue for 2018. That was twice the $150 million they processed in 2017 (the payment fee was variable until 2018, so the 10 percent assumption doesn’t hold for 2017, but I assume revenue was in the $12-15 million range).
The business of Patreon
Graph of payments processing volume by Patreon since founding, shared on Twitter on February 6, 2018 by Patreon CEO Jack Conte
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