A big change for the new decade: I’m saying goodbye to 99designs and hello to Supercast.
First, the goodbye
In 2009, I was in the right place, at the right time when Mark Harbottle (co-founder of 99designs, SitePoint & Flippa) realized that his newest startup was growing out of control and asked if I would come lead it as COO and 5th employee.
10 years later, I’m proud to reflect on the journey: we’ve built a global creative platform that is 20x bigger than when I joined and has paid over $280M USD to designers in 192 countries. We grew on many other fronts as well:
- from 5 to 120 employees, in Melbourne, Oakland and Berlin
- from 1 market (the US) to a dozen markets and 8 languages (fueled by two acquisitions)
- from 1 product to a platform of multiple products, and even powering marketplaces for partners like Squarespace
Doing the best work of my life, with people I deeply respect and making an impact on millions of people — it’s an experience that I’ll always be grateful for. Besides forging my career, I also have 99designs to thank for many lifelong friends and, serendipitously, my wife, who I met while speaking at her conference in 2015.
I’m a 99er for life.
But it’s time for a new challenge.
Being in the design space, I first came across Tiny when they invested in Dribbble and their model of investing in profitable internet businesses really stood out to me.
Years later, when Andrew Wilkinson (Founder of MetaLab and Tiny) and Aidan Hornsby (Co-founder of Supercast and DoubleUp) pitched me on Supercast, I had to check it out. Everyone’s listening to podcasts these days, but what really grabbed me was the passion economy movement and realizing just how big an opportunity most podcasters are missing.
My own love of podcasts started with Tim Ferriss. After discovering his first book, the 4-Hour Workweek, and following his low-carb diet for years, I couldn’t help but get hooked when he launched his podcast in 2014. As a listener, it’s through Tim that I really experienced the power of podcasting; how you can develop a deeply personal connection with someone you’ve never met, and continue to invite them into your ear on a weekly, or even daily basis.
While podcasters like Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan have grown such large audiences that advertisers flock to them, there are many others who educate, entertain and engage their fans purely out of passion and without much hope for profit.
With Supercast, we’ve discovered a business model that gives podcasters a sustainable way to make money, directly from their listeners. It works whether you’ve got 1,000 listeners or 20M; listeners can subscribe in their podcast player of choice (no need to install a special app); and the best part is that you’re giving your fans what they actually want — more content from you.
Prolific podcasters like Peter Attia (The Drive podcast) and Rhonda Patrick (Found My Fitness podcast) got so excited as early customers that they joined Shane Parrish (The Knowledge Project podcast) as our first investors.
But most other podcasters don’t even know that they’re sitting on a potential goldmine, let alone what to do with it.
And that’s why I’m thrilled to join Supercast as CEO and Co-founder. I’ve been helping creators get paid for over a decade and now I get to help podcasters earn recurring revenue in their sleep.
$2M in help from our friends
While Tiny bootstrapped Supercast’s initial investment, investor interest came flooding in after the beta launch, so we’re also excited to announce $2M in seed funding from leading investors including Table Management, Form Capital, Christian Reber (Founder of Wunderlist and Pitch), Des Traynor (Co-founder of Intercom) and Steli Efti (Founder of Close and Co-host of The Startup Chat podcast).
We’re also super grateful to have Jason Fried (Co-founder of Basecamp and the Rework podcast) and Eric Siu (Co-host of the Marketing School and Growth Everywhere podcasts) joining us as advisors, with continued support from our friends at Double Up, Z1 and Liftoff, who helped build the initial Supercast platform.
What comes next? We’ll be hiring a remote team, developing additional platform features, and expanding our go-to-market strategies to empower many more podcasters to turn their passion into profit.