Ad-free social video platform Portal has closed a $4.2 million round of seed funding from investors including Mark Cuban, Day One Ventures, and Social Start. Other investors include the co-founder of General Assembly, Matthew Brimer, the co-founder of Thinx, Miki Agrawal, and the co-founder of Daybreaker, Radha Agrawal.
Launched in June, Portal’s operating principle, articulated by CEO and co-founder Johnathan Swerdlin, is that “advertising is the biggest scam on the internet.”
“It rips off people and culture, and pays rubbish to creators and publishers” Swerdlin told TheWrap in June. “We built Portal to transcend this broken system and unleash the power of a peer-to-peer economy that rewards quality. It’s quite early, but we are already seeing some earning 100x more than they would from advertising.”
“You’re getting ripped off. Pharmaceutical companies, McDonald’s and bullsh*t political advertisers decide how much you and your ideas are worth,” says Miki Agrawal, serial entrepreneur and Portal content creator. “They can refuse to pay you and hide your work if you’re too ‘controversial.’ Disrupt that! Portal is where we take the power back. Just you and the people you make great sh*t for. Portal is the best place on the Internet for creators to become entrepreneurs.”
Using Portal, users can monetize their content in three ways: through profile subscriptions, which allow profiles to receive monthly subscriptions from other users for $0.99 per month, $4.99 per month, and $24.99 per month via in-app payments; by adding paywalls for specific pieces of content; or from tipping, which allows viewers to donate $0.10 – $100 by tapping the “heart” icon at the bottom of any post on Portal.
While a video with 1,000 views on ad-supported platforms generate around $1-8 (depending on the platform), Portal claims that 1,000 views would earn some users an estimated $1,650 on videos they shared for free, and as much as $20,000 on videos they uploaded with a paywall price. The company says that during its beta testing, many users earned 100x more per viewer than they would have earned through advertising on other content platforms.
“Portal‘s recent funding is fuel in our uncompromising fight to detox media from advertising and grow a content economy that gives every person on Earth limitless earning potential for what they create,” added Swerdlin. “Stay tuned for new lightweight monetization features and a deeper web presence.”
Now open to everyone, Portal plans to soon expand its offering to audio-only content, which will give musicians and podcasters an opportunity to make money off the platform.