Pico, a startup aimed at helping companies cull revenue from subscription models, has raised $4.5 million in a funding round led by Stripe and Precursor Ventures, according to a report. Bloomberg Beta, Village Global and Axel Springer Digital Ventures also participated in the round.
The company, which was founded by two Stanford graduates named Jason Bade and Nick Chen, aims to help companies adopt a “customer first” attitude when it comes to revenue, as opposed to a click-driven model. Pico will help companies put in paywalls and checkouts and will also provide analytics, functioning as a CRM of sorts for media companies.
Chen said media companies can no longer rely on ad clicking for revenue, and that people are ready to actually pay for content. He added that “the other observation was that, wow, consumers are really ready to pay for content between The New York Times and Netflix and the App Store. This behavior isn’t just music, right? This behavior is now commonplace. So there’s an opportunity for a Cambrian explosion of media entrepreneurs.”
Bade said it’s the perfect time for such a venture: “If you’re going to start treating your readers as customers – and not anonymous impressions – (media companies) have to start thinking about a whole different tech stack, which isn’t adtech, which isn’t (Google Analytics) at the anonymized, audience cohort level. But it’s a customer tech stack, it’s marketing funnels, it’s moving people down from the top of the funnel into a payment, and then retention.”
Pico is part of a group of firms that are aiming at next-generation media companies, like Substack, which provides paid email newsletters.
“What we see emerging is this product category of ‘audience relationship management.’ We see it as obviously a subcategory of CRM, but it is distinct,” Chen said. “It’s day one of this shift in the industry. And, you know, if it’s as big as we anticipate, there’s going to be a lot more activity in this space in the next few years.”