Newsletter platform Substack raises $15.3M round led by A16Z

Andreessen Horowitz is betting that there’s still a big opportunity in newsletters — the venture capital firm is leading a $15.3 million Series A in Substack.

To be clear, although Substack started out two years ago as a way turn newsletters into a paid subscription business, it’s since added support for podcasts and discussion threads . As CEO Chris Best put it, the goal is to allow writers and creators to run their own “personal media empire.”

Writers using Substack include Nicole Cliffe, Daniel Ortberg, Judd Legum, Heather Havrilesky and Matt Taibbi. The startup says that newsletters on the platform have now amassed a total of 50,000 paying subscribers (up from 25,000 in October), and that the most popular Substack authors are already making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

A16Z’s Andrew Chen — a blogger and newsletter writer himself — is joining the Substack board of directors. In Chen’s view, the startup represents the combination of the old and the new, allowing writers to reach longstanding “passionate online communities,” while also pursuing “a new way of doing micro-entrepreneurship,” where they make money directly from their audience.

“When you combine the two — wow, this is something special,” Chen said.

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