Update: Well, that was fast. We raised $300k in funding from our readers in about 50 hours. We truly did not expect that to happen. Maybe $150k in 90 days was possible. Turns out you all thought differently. Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining us on our journey. Love live The Hustle. -Sam
Dear Hustle reader,
We’ve just raised a seed round from some great investors and are inviting you to invest as well.
How we turned our little project into a company
We launched The Hustle daily email 9 months ago. The goal was simple: give our community high-quality business news and create a trustworthy brand so people could be informed and make better decisions throughout their day. Since then, our readership (and team) has swelled.
The project John and I were tinkering on has quickly become a 10-person company with 200,000+ daily users (aka you), meaningful revenue, substantial growth and a vision to build a massive company.
Now, although The Hustle started with us creating funny content for our friends, we’ve since expanded our community a bit. In fact, there are many of you who don’t even know us. Sure, you get your news from us, but here’s our background:
- After selling our last business, John and I host a conference called Hustle Con (Winter, 2015).
- We spread the word about Hustle Con by creating content. It works. 500+ people pay money to come (Spring, 2015).
- After reading that the average CNN and Fox News viewer is in their 60’s, we use our conference profits along with cash from a small angel round and launch The Hustle, a Vice meets business content blog (Fall, 2015).
- Predicting that the whole “chasing pageviews to make money” thing would no longer be a sustainable business model and terrible user experience, we switch to a daily email (April, 2016). Everything improves: numbers, user experience, excitement working on the product.
- Thanks to email advertising and hosting conferences, we are able to hire more people for sales, editorial, tech, and events.
Why raise outside funding?
Good question. If you’re the average user then you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, live in a big city, and have a fantastic job in tech, media, or finance and are climbing up the ranks. Each morning (or afternoon, depending on where you live) we have your attention and trust for 10 minutes.
And as we’ve seen with the whole fake news thing recently, earning the trust and attention from smart and high achieving young people is tough (and extremely valuable).
In our eyes, we’ve got something more than just a simple newsletter and events business, but a fast growing community of people who are notoriously tough to win over (young and smart professionals).
That’s why we’ve raised funding – to capitalize on our community growth/engagement, put fuel on the fire, and release even more products to solve more problems throughout your day.
OK, what’re the details?
We’ve already raised enough money from a few Silicon Valley investors to give us solid runway, but since most of our current investors found us because they were users and because many of you have asked to invest, we thought it’d be fun to open up a small portion of the funding round to you, our community.
To do that, we’re using SeedInvest, a crowdfunding platform that lets the general public invest in startups like ours. This means you can now join our current investors. The entire investor list can be found on our SeedInvest profile page, but they include:
Tim Chen and Jacob Gibson (founders of NerdWallet), Leo Resig (founder of TheChive), Tucker Max (author), Matthew Brimer (founder of General Assembly), David Nemetz (co-founder of Bleacher Report and Inverse), Social Starts (media vc fund), TransMedia Capital (media vc fund), Ramit Sethi (founder IWillTeachYoutoBeRich.com) and more.
The not-so-fine print
Unlike private seed-stage investing, which is relatively casual, SeedInvest has a few rules to protect potential investors.
One of the biggest rules says that the same information available to one potential investor must be made available to every potential investor. In other words, I, or anyone at our company, can’t privately answer questions about our business during the fundraising process. No emails, texts, or phone calls.
Instead, you can comment or ask questions on our SeedInvest profile and I will answer it publically.
Also, and this is a big one, we need to make this perfectly clear: early stage startup investing is extremely risky. There’s a disclosure on SeedInvest that explains this, as well as one at the bottom of the email, but we want to reiterate that.
Let’s make magic happen
There’s obviously still more details that you need. That’s what SeedInvest is for.
To get the entire picture of our business, vision, current investors, and to see a nifty video explaining the opportunity, please click the link below:
Sam, founder of The Hustle
A note from The Hustle: Every morning at 9am Pacific, we send an email with the top news stories in business and tech. It's kind of like if your friend read the internet all day then told you the important stuff in a fun, easy to understand way. Join the club and impress your coworkers with how smart you are.