Hiring the right developers is an issue for many startups in Silicon Valley, but Patreon CEO Jack Conte tells TechCrunch the speed he needs to hire is a major issue for his fast-growing subscription-based artist funding platform.
“We need to bring in so many people so fast. We need to keep up with hiring and keep up with making all of the things,” Conte said in a recent phone interview.
Patreon just closed on a fresh round of $30 million in Series B funding, led by Thrive Capital, to help hire more folks to make those “things.”
Conte and Patreon co-founder Sam Yam started the site in 2013 as a way to support artists in their pursuit of a decent living while doing what they love. The startup has since grown to nearly 50 people mostly working out of a SOMA warehouse space in downtown San Francisco.
Bigger players such as YouTube are now capitalizing on a similar idea. YouTube Red, the newish subscription service offering a revenue split with content rights holders, might attract Patreon’s core users – creative types hoping to make a living on their talent.
However, Conte believes Youtube is a complimentary service to what Patreon provides and only strengthens the future potential for growth on his platform.
“It’s a very different product,” Conte said of Youtube. “The idea of paying a subscription instead of ads is just very different from paying to support an artist.”There are now more than 17,000 artists within 15 categories on Patreon, with photography, animation, and crafts growing more than 80 percent in 2015.
Conte plans to use the new funds to hire more engineers and within the product team. He’ll also put some of it towards the mobile app, new creator tools and in getting a handle on a now bustling office.
Thrive is a new and strategic investor in this round, along with Allen and Company. Other participants include Charles River Ventures, Index Ventures, Accomplice and Freestyle Capital.
The Series B round puts the total now raised for Patreon at $47.1 million.