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Gumroad’s CEO on the company’s first 10 years, competitors like Patreon and Substack, the rise of the creator economy, and how app store “taxes” stifle growth (Gumroad Ceo Patreon Substackkonstantinovic)

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Gumroad Ceo Patreon Substackkonstantinovic

Gumroad Ceo Patreon Substackkonstantinovic: Gumroad is celebrating its first decade in business with a major announcement: the company has raised $35 million in Series B funding, led by Foundry Group.

This is an exciting time for Gumroad—in the last few years we’ve been able to improve our features and become a source of serious reliable income for creators of all types. But it means that, like most other companies, we need more capital to grow quickly enough to stay current. We’re not a charity—we have to make money, pay taxes, and build profitable features for our customers.

This is the most important time in Gumroad’s 10-year history. It will be a top priority to make sure that we continue investing in our customers, while making sure they can also invest back into their businesses by buying our products (or others’) with a 15% affiliate commission.

We’ll also be working hard to take Gumroad from simple to the most advanced tool for creators and publishers on the platform, so that we can continue to provide a hassle-free, dependable platform for our customers.

The customer comes first at Gumroad:

As a creator, you’re probably more interested in the upgrade path than your early access discount. It’s true: you cannot compare Gumroad’s customer support and reliability with other online businesses–whether that means prompt responses to questions or paying bills on time.

We continue to invest in upgrading the platform, and improving the reliability of our payment system. Most recently we launched a new Digital Asset Tool that helps creators track and manage the money they make through Gumroad. And there are many more exciting enhancements in store for our customers.

Gumroad is already established as a serious competitor in the marketplace:

The numbers are clear: Gumroad’s sales outpace those of competitors like Patreon, which is one of our best metrics indicating that we’re doing something right.

We can’t continue to coast on the reputation we’ve built over the last 10 years. We need to work hard to keep up with service-focused competitors like Patreon and Subbable, as well as newer, disruptive platforms such as Launchrock.

Gumroad is changing the direct sales nature of creative industries:

Many of our customers are new—and some are builders. We’ve seen a big shift in our product since the last time we raised money. With this round, we’re getting our hands back into the big pool of customers who can’t rely on property owners to sell their work.

We’ll be working hard to provide creators with a path to generating revenue from Gumroad in unique ways, especially for those creators that are trying to make money on Gumroad without promoting their own products.

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Mozilla report found more than a dozen TikTok influencers who had undisclosed paid relationships to post political messages; TikTok banned political ads in 2019 (Mozilla Tiktokzakrzewski Washingtonpost)

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Mozilla Tiktokzakrzewski Washingtonpost

Mozilla Tiktokzakrzewski Washingtonpost: A recent report conducted by Mozilla found that more than a dozen TikTok influencers had undisclosed paid relationships to post political messages on their videos, the company banned political ads in 2019. This decision has been applauded by various activist groups and has been seen as a “victory for free speech”.

Not everyone is happy about this. As of now, it’s not known whether the TikTok app will still be able to use third-party content from content creators with undisclosed paid relationships. It’s also not clear what the ban on political ads means for the app.

The report was released by Mozilla, a major free web browser provider and anti-privacy organization. The report argued that political messages were being spread through the video platform without users knowing that they were paid promotion of propaganda. Specifically, 7 Indian political parties allegedly used TikTok to influence voters ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. TikTok has been widely used in India because it is unable to detect political content and is mostly used by young people in India. TikTok is an app that allows users to post and share videos with one another.

The CEO of Mozilla, Mark Surman, claimed that the platform had been used for “political propaganda” for a long time. He claimed this was not only a problem in India, but globally as well. He also claimed that such incidents are not unique to India and are happening all over the world. The report also stated that many of these political influencers have more than 100,000 followers on the app. Allegedly, these users were able to get their political messages across without anyone knowing that they were paid promotions.

At the same time as the report was released, Mozilla CEO Mark Surman said that TikTok has removed all of these videos from its platform and banned political advertising on its app. He said, “It shows a clear desire from TikTok to address this problem, so we’ve decided to temporarily suspend our work with them. We will resume engagement with TikTok when we know they’ve solved this problem.”

Mozilla has decided to stop working with TikTok for an undisclosed amount of time. Mozilla also announced that it would work with other companies to make sure that political messages would not be able to be spread on their platforms for the next 4 months. The company also announced that it would work with Google, a major search engine, YouTube, a popular video streaming platform, and Facebook in order to address the issue.

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Facebook will announce a suite of audio products on Monday, including a Clubhouse-like app, a podcast discovery product connected to Spotify, and more (Sources Monday Clubhouselike Spotifykafkavox)

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Sources Monday Clubhouselike Spotifykafkavox

Sources Monday Clubhouselike Spotifykafkavox: Facebook will announce a suite of audio products on Monday, including a Clubhouse-like app, a podcast discovery product connected to Spotify, and more.

The announcements are part of Facebook’s efforts to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded social media space dominated by other companies who have fleshed out their audio offerings.

It might seem like Facebook is moving too fast in the media realm, but those who know around here know that it’s just following the rest of tech. A few years ago, the company’s advertising executives were inventing and experimenting with a range of new ad formats. From that came the creation of Timeline, its news feed, and the addition of paid ads to the social network.

On Monday at its F8 developer conference, Facebook will announce a trio of audio products — an updated version of Clubhouse which will be known as “Timeline Chats”, a podcast app called “Podcasts”, and “high quality audio” as part of Instagram.

Clubhouse first launched in 2016 as a private community where Facebook employees post 10-minute audios. It’s sort of like a Facebook-focused version of The Moth, the live storytelling event and podcast. The feature will be open to the public starting Monday (for those willing to signup for one of this thing).

Facebook is also launching a new podcast app called “Podcasts” that will be available on iOS and Android and connected to Spotify — a first for Facebook. The feature could be a competitor to the likes of Apple’s Podcasts app. Facebook is also integrating podcast listening with its main app. So people will be able to listen via their news feed, of course.

The third product is high-quality audio, which is said to be “a new format optimized for sound quality and created with the latest in audio technology”. I’m just going to say that it’s probably a way for Facebook to easily differentiate its audio products from rivals.

Facebook already has a lot of tools for recording and editing audio, especially video. With standalone products, the company can increase user engagement and promote vertical video content over horizontal videos.

Facebook has been investing in several other audio products as well.

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Wejo, which collects and analyzes real-time vehicle data, is going public via a SPAC merger to raise $330M, which will value Wejo at $800M including debt (Wejo Spac 330m 800m)

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Wejo Spac 330m 800m

Wejo Spac 330m 800m: Wejo is a predictive analytics company that specializes in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting real-time vehicle data. They operate out of the globe’s largest traffic network and have built the world’s largest connected vehicle telematics database.

The company has been privately held since 2006. Wejo plans to enter public markets via an SPAC merger with Criora Health, which will be renamed Wejo Inc with a publicly traded ticker symbol of WJHO. The merger is expected to close in Q3.

The SPAC is a new form of hybrid private/public company that has been gaining popularity in certain industries including healthcare, IT, and cloud-based security services.

Wejo’s real-time software enables consumers to monitor driving patterns and behavior via an on-board telematics device, or log into their account online to review the data. The company has been providing these solutions for more than a decade to consumers, dealers, and auto manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe.

The data that Wejo gathers from its network of connected vehicles is available to a wide range of businesses, including auto insurers, dealerships, finance companies, and auto OEMs. The company also collects data from non-automotive sectors such as delivery fleets and shuttle buses among others.

Wejo has operational headquarters in the U.S., and is listed on the OTC Markets under the ticker symbol WJHO. The company also maintains a research, development, and engineering center in Palo Alto, California. Wejo’s operating headquarters are located on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Wejo operates its largest connected vehicle telematics database, which consists of more than eight billion connected miles of driving data gathered from over three million vehicles. The company currently analyzes data from over seven hundred thousand vehicles in the U.S., fifteen thousand fleets outside the U.S., and twelve thousand transit buses around the world.

The company currently operates five technology platforms. Wejo’s Real-Time platform is a web and mobile portal that allows users to analyze, visualize, and share driving patterns and behaviors. The company’s fleet management platform includes features such as fleet routing optimization and real-time fleet analytics. The Mobilize platform offers a unified user interface for device management systems and connected vehicles.

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