A Q&A with TidBitts founder and CEO Brad Greenwald. The Denver-based startup, which offers a paid publishing platform for individual publishers, launched out of beta in late September. It was founded last year and raised a Seed funding round over the summer.
SUB: Please describe TidBitts and your primary innovation.
Greenwald: TidBitts allows people to choose their favorite authors, celebrities, and experts, and get delivered weekly ‘bite-sized’ exclusive content for just 99 cents per month. This might be a tip, a story, a rant, a recommendation. It’s very friendly; there are no ads—you can try the first month free and unsubscribe any time you want.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Greenwald: Our market coincides with the $14 billion market for non-fiction books. TidBitts is the modern evolution of a book. Typical categories of subscribers include those seeking parenting and dating tips, nutritional and weight loss guidance, comedy, business motivation, etc.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates TidBitts from the competition?
Greenwald: There are other premium content subscription platforms. TidBitts streams are bite-sized by design, meant to be consumed in about 60 seconds free of ads and delivered hassle-free to all devices.
For only 99 cents a month, a subscriber gets a one-on-one connection with someone they admire, someone they respect and want to hear from, whether it’s for entertainment purposes or for information purposes.
We have former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jeff Blake offering counseling to parents and their kids about elite athletics, the former admissions director for Princeton offering college admissions expertise and comedian Jimmy Yang sharing his hilarious TidBitts on life in show business.
TidBitts gives content providers an easy way to generate a recurring revenue stream from a paid content subscription from their followers, and engages their fans more deeply.
SUB: You just announced your launch. Was this out of beta?
Greenwald: We did beta testing earlier this year with a team of content providers and their fans.
SUB: Have you raised outside funding to this point?
Greenwald: We raised an initial Seed round from Angels, and intend to go for Series A funding next year.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for TidBitts? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Greenwald: A little over a year ago, my wife and I were talking about how it would be great to have interesting topics delivered to us on a regular basis to spark dinnertime conversation with our kids.
My co-founders and I come from the worlds of social media, ecommerce, cable TV and publishing. It occurred to us that online publishing needs to evolve for the next generation. You just can’t afford to put out quality content over time and not get paid for it.
Consumers have shown a willingness to pay for higher-quality content from providers they care about. Just as Sirius XM radio complemented free radio, and cable TV complemented free TV, the TidBitts platform complements free Internet content.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Greenwald: We used a partnership with a talent agency to bring the TidBitts idea in front of their clients as part of our due diligence. Then we put a small team together and raised a Seed round of capital.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Greenwald: Our market research found that consumers are busy and fatigued sifting through poor quality Internet content to get the best nuggets of information they really want. A ‘tidbit’ is a small and particularly interesting piece of information. TidBitts streams are curated and bite-sized, consumed in about 60 seconds, free of advertising, delivered hassle-free to all devices.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Greenwald: Building a compelling and functional software platform.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Greenwald: We make 15 percent of revenue as a fee for handling subscriptions, customer service, billing and content distribution.
Unlike traditional publishing models where only a small percentage accrues to the author, creators keep 85 percent of the revenue, minus their actual payment processing fees. It’s their content and their fans—it’s only fair that bloggers, authors and experts have a turnkey direct-to-fan platform that allows them to make a living.
SUB: What are your goals for TidBitts over the next year or so?
Greenwald: Keep growing. We’ll work to delight our creators’ fans and optimize the platform as we gain fresh insights about what interests subscribers most.