Big News at Some Spider Studios
As The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, 2017 was a big year for Some Spider Studios. After doubling revenue and with plans to nearly double again in 2018, I’m happy to announce that the company has just raised $10mm in additional capital funding.
The round was led by NEA, with participation from Red and Blue Ventures, Graph Ventures and angels, including Sandy Grushow, former Chairman of the Fox Television Entertainment Group. I’m especially excited to be working closely again with Tony Florence from NEA, who has joined our Board, and Michael Aronson from Red and Blue Ventures (a fund associated with my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania). Tony and Michael were investors and actively involved in my last company, Diapers.com. They join myself and Marc Lore, my co-founder at Diapers.com, the initial investors of Some Spider. There couldn’t be an investor and advisor group I respect and trust more.
I wanted to take this chance to reflect on how we got here. Simply put, we’ve grown a lot. Scary Mommy continued its super-fast growth trajectory, reaching more than 80mm people a month across all platforms and attracting more overall engagements in the mom space than the next several properties combined. Instagram followers doubled to now exceed 800K with more than 20,000 engagements per post. We didn’t just want to invest in video — we wanted to start building popular shows and series. Madge the Vag, Mom’s Table, I am Scary Mommy and Momsplained are some of the franchises we’ve built and launched successfully, averaging hundreds of thousands of views and drawing sponsors well ahead of schedule. As a result, we built and strengthened advertising relationships with big brands like Kroger, Geico, Walmart, Disney, Kimberly Clark and many others.
Another special development occurred this past year. I always had a vision of my brother, Preet, someday joining Some Spider in a material capacity. When Trump fired him, we convinced him. Our first goal was then to produce a really good podcast. Under our CAFE brand, we produced and launched Stay Tuned with Preet in September and it debuted as Number 1 in the country on iTunes. It’s been downloaded many million times and it has over 11,000 comments in just 4 months. We then wanted to test out live shows. We did so in early December with guest, Hassan Minhaj, and we sold out 900 seats in less than 24 hours.
And finally, 2017 saw the birth of our newest property. With a bunch of dads at the Company, including myself, we used to half-joke that we should launch a new entertainment brand for us. So we did just that in November, soft-launching THE DAD. It’s approaching 500,000 social followers in its first 90 days. We reached over 50 million folks this past month with close to 18,000 engagements per post. Here’s my favorite video that we’ve produced which has been shared so many times that it’s become a bit of a national phenomenon.
So, now that we have this new funding, here’s how we plan to use it. First, we want to extend the Scary Mommy brand everywhere and make it ubiquitous. Scary Mommy debuted today as one of the fewer than 40 national Snapchat Discover channels, and the only one targeted specifically at moms. We’ll continue to create and distribute premium shows and series — extending our hits from 2017, and releasing another 15 or so. There should be a few big partnerships we strike in these efforts. We’ll also be launching multiple podcasts. And importantly, later in the year, we’ll be testing and introducing some innovative direct-to-consumer strategies. It’s our view that Scary Mommy can ultimately sell its own physical products, offer services and organize regular events in cities and towns all over the country.
Second, with some of our early success, we’ll be significantly investing in THE DAD. We think we can be the leading entertainment brand for BOTH moms and dads. They represent just under ½ of all 18-54 year olds and over 2/3 of their purchasing power. Our main focus will be comedy, but we’ll also sometimes go deeper and explore the full range of what it means and how it feels to be a dad today. As with Scary Mommy — where we tackle all aspects of the lives of moms — specific parenting content will just be part of what we produce at THE DAD. It should be about our full lives and how so much of it is radically different from when we didn’t have these little ones.
Third, we’ll be fully transitioning CAFE to a collaborative media venture with Preet, and debuting additional projects from that platform, after successfully doing so with the Stay Tuned podcast last fall. The first will be the CAFE CHANGE SUMMIT with PREET in April under the tagline ‘Inspiring Thoughtful Action.” It also means several additional podcasts with different hosts. Given the mission of this brand and the incoming pitches Preet and we get on a regular basis — and the national following surrounding his podcast and some of his other endeavors — I think the opportunity here is large and exciting.
All of these investments are in furtherance of our overriding mission which has remained the same since DAY 1 — creating multiple, national, iconic brands around big identities and values that make deep emotional connections with tens of millions of people every day. If we focus on getting that right, they will be large, differentiated assets with enormous value.
It’s an exciting time for us at Some Spider. But we have lots of work to do. No time for AphukenbrakE.