Merchant Innovation

Facebook Buys, Then Shutters, Payments Startup Tugboat Yards

Tugboat Yards – a startup that helps content creators connect with their fans for financial support – has been acquired by Facebook, who will soon be shutting the whole thing down. Tugboat allows publishers (and other online content controllers) to tap into their fan base by helping them create subscriptions and other services in return for donations.

Particularly popular were the embeddable widgets offered by the site, which gave podcasters and magazines an easy path to collecting payments. The hope out the door was that content creators could have a simple way to self-fund their projects without having to get involved in complex payments schemes.

“Our initial reason for starting Tugboat — that there was a missing audience management platform for small to medium publishers — remains valid three years later,” cofounder and chief execuive Andrew Anker wrote in the blog post. “We are excited by the opportunity to work on solving these problems with a much broader scope at Facebook,” the firm noted in a post on its blog .

Tugboat Yards will officially stop accepting purchases and renewing subscriptions on the first day of July – though publisher account creation has already been switched off.

The site’s users include Deca, Let’s Make Mistakes, Maura Magazine, Offbeat Empire, Radio SilenceScratch Magazine, and Wine for Normal People.

The San Francisco-based firm was launched in 2012 and has since attracted some high-profile investment interest including Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.


New PYMNTS Study: Subscription Commerce Conversion Index – July 2020 

Staying home 24/7 has consumers turning to subscription services for both entertainment and their day-to-day needs. While that’s a great opportunity for providers, it also presents a challenge — 27.4 million consumers are looking to cancel their subscriptions because of friction and cost concerns. In the latest Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, PYMNTS reveals the five key features that can help companies keep subscribers loyal despite today’s challenging economic times.

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