By the end of 2019, crowdfunding firm Patreon expects to have paid out more than $1bn to its community of creators since its launch in 2013. But the company is also proving adept at raising money for its own business through more traditional means: yesterday it announced a $60m Series D funding round, taking its total raised since launch to nearly $166m.

Musician Serj Tankian (from System of a Down) is one of the investors in the latest round, alongside comedian Hannibal Buress and a group of institutional investors. Patreon CEO Jack Conte hailed the involvement of “our first creator/artist investors” saying that “this means we’ll have even more creative minds and hearts behind our mission to fund the creative class”.

Conte promised that Patreon will use the funding to accelerate its growth internationally – “new currencies, payment methods, and languages” as well as more offices across the world – while also developing more new features for its platform, and beefing up existing features like merchandise. “We’ll also give creators and their patrons better ways to engage, both one on one and as a community,” he wrote.

Patreon’s funding news comes in a strange year for crowdfunding. Music platform PledgeMusic’s troubles are well-known by now, and with the company still hoping to be bought, unresolved. Meanwhile, Kickstarter’s plans to relaunch its Patreon-style ongoing-crowdfunding service Drip with partner XOXO were recently cancelled – with XOXO claiming that “we couldn’t find a way to make the business viable… the resources required to support a high number of lower-volume creators always outpaced our revenue”.

Is Patreon doing better? In January, the company announced that it had more than three million patrons (fans) supporting more than 100,000 creators, and predicted that its payouts to those creators in 2019 alone would be more than $500m. Patreon takes a fee of between 5% and 12% of creators’ income, depending which of its plans they’re on and when they joined the platform.

Conte has been open about the fact that this business isn’t yet profitable. “Yeah, we’ve a ways to go there,” he told TechCrunch in February 2019. “The reality is Patreon needs to build new businesses and new services and new revenue lines in order to build a sustainable business,” he told CNBC in January.

A $60m Series D round at least provides more runway to build more of those new things and see if they work. But it also brings expectations from investors about working towards not just profit, but an exit via acquisition or IPO. The risk there for a crowdfunding platform is that at some point, what investors think will drive a successful exit may not necessarily be in sync with what creators think will be best for their interests. That’s the tightrope that Patreon and any platform like it must walk, once institutional funding is in play.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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