Patreon wants a bigger slice of the subscription and membership business: The San Francisco-based startup announced the acquisition of Memberful Wednesday to expand into the realm of white-labeled membership services. Memberful’s entire staff of 7, including its founder Drew Strojny, are joining Patreon as part of the deal. Financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed.
Patreon’s VP of product Wyatt Jenkins told Variety recently that the company had been planing to build a white-label solution for artists and creatives for some time. And when it started to talk to Memberful, the two companies seemed like a natural fit. “We liked Drew’s roadmap quite a bit,” he said.
Memberful offers some of the same services as Patreon, with the key difference that it integrates into artist’s existing web presences. This allows artists to offer memberships and paid services under their own brand, with their own payment processor account. The company currently has around 500 paying customers, Jenkins said, with some including the podcast network Gimlet Media, tech blogger Ben Thompson and photographer Trey Ratcliff.
Going forward, Patron is looking to run Memberful as an independent business, while also giving creatives tools to more easily switch from one platform to the other. And Patreon is looking to invest into Memberful to grow its customer base. Said Jenkins: ”We are gonna triple the size of the Memberful team.”
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Patreon is expanding into white-label membership services just as big platforms like Facebook and YouTube are starting to add tools for their creators to raise funds from their fans. “YouTube and Facebook are just copying us at this point, which is great,” quipped Jenkins. “It means we are onto something.”
However, he argued that these services are inferior to what Patreon and Memberful are offering because they don’t allow artists to own the customer relationship. “On YouTube, those aren’t your users,” he said. “Those are YouTube users.”