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The Substack Phenomena

The Substack Phenomena
August 26, 2021

The Daily Stack is a daily private market insights newsletter by PrivCo, a private company intelligence platform. Read our previous insights.
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For those of us sitting at desks (or dining tables) all day, the occasional distraction of an email newsletter offers a welcome respite from...whatever you’re doing. I personally take a moment from time to time to check out the “world in a nutshell” news-newsletter, from the Daily Pnut, to chuckle over septuagenarian advice columnist E. Jean Carrol’s newsletter, to learn something about anti-racism, to get book recs as good as the books themselves, or to stay up-to-date on work-related topics with Axios’s numerous daily blasts. Heck, you know what I’m talking about–you’re probably taking a break from work with this newsletter right now!

The business of newsletter writing has garnered plenty of attention for the shiny six-figure contracts some top journalists and writers have earned, a situation which remains a welcome signal to English majors who were previously brushed off as 401(k) foolish. And the “trend” isn’t slowing down. Last week, Facebook announced it will be taking on 100 local journalists for multi-year deals to report via their newsletter channel Bulletin. The social network is targeting under-reported regions and topics, primarily from communities of color or those in “news deserts.” Twitter purchased newsletter service Revue in January and is testing direct subscription through Twitter bios as of last week. 

Want to pen your own? Here are some tips and your choice of hosts.

The main players in the space include, of course, Substack with its 12 million monthly subscribers. Mighty Networks brings newsletters, courses, communities and memberships together onto one tidy platform. Ghost has a cool name and an equally cool status as a non-profit and open-source platform. Medium is a free platform and discovery site for writers favored among the tech set. Patreon offers different incentives for subscribership and holds down the highest valuation. 

Happy writing/skimming!

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:

561 Companies | 113 Funding Activities | 59 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Grafana Labs raises $220MM from Sequoia Capital & Coatue

Data Visualization • Equity • New York, NY

Calibrate raises $22.5MM from Emily Melton & others

Wellness • Round A • New York, NY

NoRedInk raises $50MM from Susquehanna Growth Equity

E-Learning • Round B •  San Francisco, CA

Upstream raises $62MM from Mitsubishi Sumitomo Insurance 

Cybersecurity • Round C • Herzliya, Israel 

Bridge to Life raises $56MM from Perceptive Advisors

Biotechnology • Round A • Northbrook, IL

Hunters raises $30MM from Bessemer Venture Partners

Cyber Security • Round B • Tel Aviv, Israel

Equum Medical raises a $20MM from Heritage Group

Digital Health • Growth Capital • New York, NY

Tango raises $5.7MM from Wing VC

Employee Engagement • Seed • Redding, CA

Prospr raises $3.2MM Bonfire Ventures

Workforce Management • Seed • New York, NY

Audax Private Equity acquires Covercraft Industries

Vehicle Manufacturer • Acquisition • Pauls Valley, OK

Mainsail Partners invests in Centerbase

Legal Software • Growth Capital • Dallas, TX

Worldwide Produce acquires Vision Produce

Produce Import & Distributor • Acquisition • Los Angeles, CA

Paradox acquires Traitify

Recruiting Software • Acquisition • Scottsdale, AZ

Volvo acquires subsidiary of Jiangling Motors

Truck Manufacturer • Acquisition • Goteborg, Sweden


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