“We intend to do a lot more and move a lot faster. In the weeks, months, and years ahead, we will invest deeply in writers, helping them to build sustainable media businesses on Substack and giving them the most powerful subscription publishing tools ever seen. We are not going to do this by half-measures. We are all in,” said a statement posted on behalf of the platform, which allows writers to send newsletters to subscribers.
It went on, “To that end, today we’re pleased to announce that we have agreed to a $65 million Series B funding round led by Andrew Chen of Andreessen Horowitz that will allow us to make a significant investment in writers.”
The fundraising signifies how big newsletter publishing has gotten recently.
Prominent writers and journalists like Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias, The Verge’s Casey Newton, New York magazine’s Andrew Sullivan, BuzzFeed’s Anne Helen Petersen and Vulture’s Hunter Harris have all left their gigs in recent months to write their newsletters full-time for paying subscribers on platforms like Substack. Publishers have also taken note and are focusing more on email newsletters to increase readership and subscriber numbers.
Substack launched in 2018 and has, in the past year, become the go-to platform for writers looking to monetize their followings.
Tuesday’s statement revealed how far that monetization has gone: “Over the last three years, readers have paid writers tens of millions of dollars through Substack. More than half a million people pay to subscribe to a publication on the platform. The top 10 publishers are grossing more than $15 million a year.”
In November 2020, there were reports that tech giant Twitter was interested in acquiring Substack itself. Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie, in response to a New York Times report Twitter had had “conversations” about making a deal, tweeted on at the time “this is not going to happen.”