We Had A Kinda Crazy Idea. You Made It Real. Thank You.
We launched Upworthy 18 months ago based on a pretty crazy idea: that if you can catch people’s attention, they actually care more about the most important topics in the world than they do about celebrity sideboobs or iPhone rumors or weird old tips about belly fat.
The thing was: We had no idea if it was true.
We certainly wanted to believe that we could help gay marriage and racial discrimination and bank regulation win out over the frivolous stuff we all find ourselves drawn to sometimes — but we really weren’t sure.
Then, people like you started showing up. A million the first month, 2 million the next, 10 million in Month 10, and then 30 million three months later. Close to 5 million of you are subscribed to get Upworthy on a daily basis. And these days, more people come to Upworthy each month than visit People.com, Entertainment Weekly, or TMZ.
It’s not just that you come and watch stuff, though. You actually do some pretty wondtacular things. Seventeen million of you saw the story of Zach Sobiech's heartbreaking last months — and then helped contribute over $300,000 to his cancer charity. When we found this amazing video about GoldieBlox, a toy set that encourages girls to become engineers, you didn’t just watch and share — you went out and bought 23,000 of them in two days. Now GoldieBlox is one of the top toys in Toys R Us. And you’re lifting up the stories of people like Alice Guy-Blaché, a cinema pioneer whose contributions were in danger of being forgotten. In just two days, you donated more than $80,000 to filmmakers who can now create a documentary about her life and impact.
So thanks to you, today that crazy idea doesn’t sound as crazy. It sounds so un-crazy, in fact, that some of the world’s best tech, media, and social impact investors are putting $8 million behind it.
Joining us are Spark Capital (early investors in Tumblr and Twitter), Catamount Ventures (a mission-driven investing firm that backed Seventh Generation and Plum Organics), Uprising (a new firm focused on epic endeavors that matter), and the Knight Foundation (the largest funder of journalism and media innovation in the country). We’re very happy to have them in our corner, invested in what we’re doing, and offering their advice and experience and immense networks as we grow. (We’re also hugely grateful to the social-good-oriented angel investors from New Media Ventures and elsewhere who helped get us rolling in the beginning.)
Our mission here has always been to draw attention to stuff that really matters using irresistible social media. This investment will help us double down on that mission in a few huge ways:
- It’ll help us expand our amazing team. Speaking of which: Should you join our amazing team? You probably should. We’re hiring engineers, editors, audience development mavens, product whizzes, salespeople, and more. Apply now at: upworthy.com/jobs
- It’ll help us branch out into new editorial areas. There are a ton of very, very Upworthy issue areas that we can’t wait to dig into much more deeply. But don’t worry — despite the urging from a number of potential investors (who we didn’t work with), we won’t ever launch a “New Reasons For Women To Feel Bad About Their Bodies” section.
- It’ll help us build out our business so that we can keep growing and get to the scale where we can really make a lasting impact. Speaking of which: Do you have a great idea or piece of socially important content that deserves more attention than it’s getting? Maybe you should work with us! Hit us up at email@example.com.
- It’ll help us launch some really amazing new tech. Not CNN-style talking holograms — though we may have those in our secret labs — but we think you’ll like what we’re building, all the same.
You’ve made this all possible. Thank you. If we could, we would hug every one of you personally. But hugging 30 million people would take a lot of time (694 straight days, according to math). And eventually get very tiring. And probably a little weird, like when you say a word over and over again and it loses all its meaning.
So instead, we’re going to get back to work sharing meaningful media with millions upon millions of people. We hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be a great ride.
— Peter, Eli, and the whole Upworthy team