There is a cork board in The Mighty's office kitchen, the social network for people with chronic illnesses, mental disorders and disabilities, which contains photos and letters from thousands of contributors and readers. the stories shared by the site.
It is there to remind the company's staff members of the faces behind the work that they do and the impact that the site has on its legion of readers and writers .
For the founder of The Mighty, Mike Porath, the site's mission is as much a personal as a professional story. In an article announcing the launch of the company in 2014, Porath wrote about his family's own struggles.
Porath's two-year-old daughter is suffering from a rare genetic disorder, diagnosed the same day that her pregnant wife, Sarah, learned that the baby she was wearing would probably be born without at least one organ .
Lying in bed that night, we were shaken and lost. It was not the life or the family we had planned. I remember feeling small and hollow, helpless husband and father. Whether it was a futile attempt to comfort my wife or a way to make sense of it all, I told her we were going to do something good with that . How, she asked. I had no idea. We were in tears.
The Porath struggled in adversity, partly thanks to the help of a community of supporters, and it is from this experience that the Mighty was born
The founders (Porath's wife is responsible for human resources) left this post three years ago to create a community that now has over a million members and has lifted 8, $ 2 million in new funding.
Initially, Porath's started the company and, a few months later, had the website installed and hired Meg Griffo, a Huffington Post writer, as editor. In the space of one year, the company went from 2,000 to 20,000 visits a day, at the time Joanne Wilson became a seed investor.
In the beginning, the site was more of a Huffington Post platform for authors to share their experiences, but as it evolved, it created a "hub-and-spoke" approach, allowing members of the community to acquire more autonomy. and create topics and publish content on their own.
To give an idea of the size of the company, there are 15 writers and writers in the staff, helping a population of over 10,000 unpaid contributors.
Now, the company has partnered with advertising giant WPP, which launched a new vertical in health and wellness earlier this year. The partnership with WPP will allow The Mighty's contributing storytellers to reach a new audience – the doctors who treat or care for family members, loved ones and friends.
"Through their clients in health care, they have seen an increase in patient-centric approaches and a shift towards more content marketing," Porath said of the agreement with WPP . "We match these two trends because we have authentic stories from personal perspectives, and we've chosen to deliver sponsored messages rather than drug ads that you'll find on WebMD and similar publishers."
These income-generating opportunities will open up the prospect of a payment to The Mighty contributors (we could almost consider them as micro-influencers) as more sponsored content begins to appear on The Mighty's pages. . While contributors share their personal stories, they do not recommend any treatment or products, according to Porath.
Thus, the company avoids any potential liability that could arise from an influx of snake oil vendors. There is nothing to sell.
The Los Angeles-based company has come a long way, and seed investors like Joanne Wilson, Brad Feld (through the FG Angel syndicate) and Upfront Ventures have been happy to cross.
The new lead investor GGV Capital and WPP, who participated in the financing, were intrigued by 1 million community members, a subscriber base of 10 million letters and the addition of 5 000 new registrants each month.
The nascent revenue generated by the company from sponsored posts, videos, and surveys probably helped to boost investor confidence in the growing media site.
Porath says that the mission of the company is to people facing health problems and disabilities, "and the company recruited staff to ensure that this goal is achieved.
Peter Wang joined the company as a new director of technology, coming from similar roles at Refinery 29 and Buddy Media – two successful media properties.
Now, with the extra staff, The Mighty will build new features, such as Quora Q & A and one-to-one messages.
"The day when someone will get a diagnosis, The Mighty will be the place to go to find support and advice for anything that's a fact," Porath writes in an email .
All this is part of what Porath sees as a bigger challenge for the company: to create a social network designed to appeal to hundreds of millions of users around the world.
About 10% of the company's visitors already come from countries outside the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, where English is not the first language, according to Porath. And one of the reasons why the company turned to GGVC as the new lead investor, and Hans Tung as the newest member of the company's board of directors, is that they can exploit the experience of the company in international growth.
China, for example, which is a center of interest for the CGMW, has an incredible need for new health services.
"We share our happiest moments on networks like Facebook and Instagram, but they are not the place where most people want to share their moments of vulnerability," Porath writes. "We have built a brand and secure space to which more than a million people have joined, but to reach the global scale, we must offer our members much more value."