More than a year and a half ago, I wrote about Coach, a startup offering tools for tutors and other freelancers to make money and operate their business online. Since then, the company has shifted focus in a big way, and it recently announced that it’s raised $3 million in seed funding.
It’s got a new name, too — Podia.
CEO Spencer Fry explained that after launching, Coach found that many of its users weren’t actually tutors. Instead, there were “a lot of other types of content creators joining the platform.” At the same time, the tutor-focused features like scheduling and invoicing weren’t seeing much usage. So Fry decided to “focus exclusively on creating digital storefronts for content creators.”
“Advertising is dying for content creators and affiliate marketing is a really small, niche business,” he said. “To make meaningful revenue, you have to sell content.”
Judging from the creators highlighted on the Podia website, many of the company’s customers are still focused on selling online classes and how-to content, whether that’s around marketing, programming or food. Podia says it’s working with more than 7,500 creators, with a handful of them bringing in more than $100,000 over the past year.
Those content creators have other monetization tools to choose from, but Fry said companies like (say) Gumroad or Patreon tend to focus on “a single niche” or business model. Coach, on the other hand, allows creators to charge for online courses, sell digital downloads and, in the most recent addition, sell memberships. It also allows them to own their customer list and promote their offerings through a simple email marketing tool.
Fry argued that Podia’s approach is “very, very creator-friendly” overall. For one thing, it offers them a “100 percent white labeled solution,” where they can sell through their own website or a custom domain.
For another, payments go straight to the creator’s PayPal or Stripe account, with no transaction fees (something that tripped up Patreon recently). Instead, Podia just has two subscription tiers, mover (which Fry said is designed for first-time content sellers and costs $39 a month) and shaker ($79 a month). So even if Podia is helping someone bring in six-figure revenue, they’re still only paying $79 a month.
As for the new funding, it comes from Zelkova Ventures, Designer Fund and Notation Capital.
And the name change? Fry said he quickly came to “hate” calling the company Coach, particularly since it made the company really hard to find on Google. Podia, (the plural form of podium) should have that problem.