As paid newsletters develop in recognition, Snigdha Sur, the founding father of South Asian-focused media firm The Juggernaut, has no qualms about avoiding the strategy fully. 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 authentic reporting, aggregation was turning into repetitive and mainstream information organizations weren’t answering huge 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. Current headlines on The Juggernaut embody: 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 strategy, as an alternative of a single newesletter strategy,aggreff is working to this point: 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 stated.
On the heels of this progress, The Juggernaut introduced at the moment 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 tasks. Different traders within the spherical embody Unpopular Ventures, Backstage Capital, New Media Ventures and Previous City Media. Angels embody former Andreessen Horowitz basic associate Balaji Srinivasan; co-founder of Kabam, Holly Liu; and co-founder of sports-focused publication The Athletic, Adam Hansmann.
At the moment, 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 gives 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 clients.
The Juggernaut is a part of a rising variety of media firms making an attempt to immediately monetize off of subscriptions as an alternative of ads, akin 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 in terms of bills within the early days. The staff presently has solely three full-time workers, together with Sur, tradition editor Imaan Sheikh and one full-time author, Michaela Stone Cross.
“Generally at media firms folks over-hire and over-promise, after which don’t ship on the profitability or return,” she stated. Because of this, The Juggernaut largely works with “freelancers who would most likely by no means be a part of any particular publication,” Sur stated. Whereas The Juggernaut hopes to have full-time workers writers finally, the contributor strategy helps mood spending.
Past tempo, The Juggernaut is trying to construct up its subscriber base by writing tales that require deep, artistic pondering. The publication deliberately doesn’t cowl commoditized breaking information, which may have the potential to herald extra inbound site 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 dwelling and dealing in Mumbai, India. Since founding The Juggernaut, her aim 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 strive to not translate phrases we don’t should do, we’re not making an attempt to dumb this down, we’re not making an attempt to jot down for the white teen,” she stated. “We’re making an attempt to jot down for the good, curious individual. And we’re going to imagine you understand stuff.”