If content creators want to sell pricier monthly content subscriptions, offering stickers, pins, signed photos, or t-shirts can convince fans to pay a higher fee and keep them loyal with a physical connection. That’s why patronage platform Patreon just acquired Kit, a startup building a merchandise logistics backend so creators don’t have to fiddle with spreadsheets and stuff envelopes themselves.
“Over 60 percent of today of Patreon creators either want to or are already delivering some kind of physical merchandise” says Patreon’s VP of Product, Wyatt Jenkins. Together, they could help Patreon creators develop merch items that fans subscribe to get ahold of, potentially shelling out for $10 or $20 per month tiers rather than basic $1 or $5 online content-only tiers.
The deal could also help Patreon stay ahead of YouTube and Facebook, which are encroaching on its subscription patronage model. Patreon now has 2 million patrons backing 100,000 creators. It paid out $350 million over its first 5 years through 2017, and expects to send creators another $300 million in 2018, while taking a 5 percent cut.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 90 percent of Kit team, mostly product and engineering talent, will join San Francisco-based Patreon though they’ll stay put in NYC as a satellite office the rest of the year. Kit had raised $2.5 million from Social Capital, Expa, #Angels, Precursor, and Stanford’s StartX, as well as angels like Ellen Pao and Slack’s April Underwood.
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