As paid newsletters develop in reputation, Snigdha Sur, the founding father of South Asian-focused media firm The Juggernaut, has no qualms about avoiding the method solely. In October 2017, Sur began The Juggernaut as a free e-newsletter, referred to as InkMango. As she looked for information on the South Asian diaspora, she discovered that articles lacked unique reporting, aggregation was changing into repetitive and mainstream information organizations weren’t answering large questions.
Then InkMango crossed 700 free readers, and Sur noticed a chance for a full-bodied media firm, not only a e-newsletter.
One year and a Y Combinator graduation later, The Juggernaut has labored with greater than 100 contributors (each journalists and illustrators) to offer evaluation on South Asian information. Latest headlines on The Juggernaut embrace: The Evolution of Padma Lakshmi; How Ancestry Test Results Became Browner; and How the Death of a Bollywood Actor Became a Political Proxy War. The community method, as a substitute of a single newesletter method,aggreff is working up to now: Sur says that The Juggernaut has garnered “1000’s of subscribers.” Throughout COVID-19, The Juggernaut’s web subscribers have grown 20% to 30% month over month, she mentioned.
On the heels of this progress, The Juggernaut introduced immediately that it has raised a $2 million seed spherical led by Precursor Ventures to rent editors and a full-time progress engineer, and broaden new editorial initiatives. Different buyers within the spherical embrace Unpopular Ventures, Backstage Capital, New Media Ventures and Previous City Media. Angels embrace former Andreessen Horowitz basic associate Balaji Srinivasan; co-founder of Kabam, Holly Liu; and co-founder of sports-focused publication The Athletic, Adam Hansmann.
Presently, The Juggernaut charges $3.99 a month for an annual subscription, $9.99 a month for a month-to-month subscription and $249.99 for a lifetime subscription to the information outlet. It additionally presents a seven-day free trial (with a dialog fee to paid at over 80%) and has a free e-newsletter, which Sur says will stay free to herald top-of-the-funnel prospects.
The Juggernaut is a part of a rising variety of media corporations attempting to immediately monetize off of subscriptions as a substitute of commercials, equivalent to The Information, The Athletic, and even our very personal Extra Crunch. If profitable, the hope is that paid subscriptions will show extra sustainable and profitable than promoting, which nonetheless dominates in media.
However Sur is purposely pacing herself relating to bills within the early days. The group at present has solely three full-time workers, together with Sur, tradition editor Imaan Sheikh and one full-time author, Michaela Stone Cross.
“Generally at media corporations folks over-hire and over-promise, after which don’t ship on the profitability or return,” she mentioned. For that reason, The Juggernaut largely works with “freelancers who would in all probability by no means be a part of any particular publication,” Sur mentioned. Whereas The Juggernaut hopes to have full-time workers writers ultimately, the contributor method helps mood spending.
Past tempo, The Juggernaut is trying to construct up its subscriber base by writing tales that require deep, inventive considering. The publication deliberately doesn’t cowl commoditized breaking information, which might have the potential to herald extra inbound visitors, or something that doesn’t have a South Asian connection.
Sur resides the tales that she is working to inform. Born in Chhattisgarh, India, she grew up within the Bronx and Queens in New York Metropolis, and frolicked residing and dealing in Mumbai, India. Since founding The Juggernaut, her objective for the publication has been to be a spot for not simply South Asians, however for “anybody who has a type of curiosity and appreciation” for South Asian tradition.
“We attempt to not translate phrases we don’t should do, we’re not attempting to dumb this down, we’re not attempting to put in writing for the white teen,” she mentioned. “We’re attempting to put in writing for the good, curious individual. And we’re going to imagine you realize stuff.”
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