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Inside The Mighty: One Million Members and a Bright Path Ahead

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I’m proud to say that The Mighty has reached a big milestone and entered a new phase of growth.

Earlier this month, we crossed the threshold of one million registered members. And today we’re announcing that we’ve raised $8.2 million from both new and existing investors to grow our community substantially and offer members more ways to support one another.

Three years ago, we set out to build a digital home that empowered and connected people facing health conditions and disabilities. As the parents of a girl with Dup15q syndrome, my wife and I found that connecting with others helped us more than anything. Shared experience is what connects us all. Online, those shared experiences can take the form of stories. We started The Mighty with stories. Your stories.

Today those stories are read, watched, liked, commented on and shared more than 90 million times a month. We have the privilege of hearing about the positive impact those are having every day through the emails and comments we receive.

Fourteen months ago, we took an important step toward building a true platform. We personalized the site for those who signed up and who told us what topics and writers they wanted to follow. Back then, we registered a new community member every five minutes. Today we register a new member every 20 seconds.

We’ve continued to build that platform, and in large part, it’s working. People are signing up and coming back often because they’re getting real value from the personalized experience. But in following our mission to empower and connect people, there’s so much more we can do to help. Stories were just the start. To grow The Mighty into a platform that helps hundreds of millions of people, we need to deliver much more value.

Here are some of the things we plan to offer the community in 2018:

Sharing experiences beyond essays: moments, photos, videos and art.

Asking and answering one another’s questions. Sharing knowledge and resources.

Seeking and receiving guidance from reputable health care professionals.

Connecting to institutions and organizations that can help you.

Forming your own groups. Finding your tribe.

There are a few groups of people that have made all this possible. First, our contributors who are willing to share their personal experiences with others in our community. Second, our talented team who is committed to serving our community. If you want to know who they are and why they joined, read this. And third, our investors who believe in our vision and in our team’s ability to find our way there.

Our Series A investment was led by Hans Tung of GGV Capital, who was recently named one of the world’s top 20 tech investors by Forbes. We are thrilled to have him joining our board. We are also excited to bring on a strategic partner in WPP, a marketing giant with a renewed focus on health. Earlier investors who participated include Upfront Ventures, BDMI, Joanne Wilson and John and Tina Novogratz.

We’re still in the early stages of growing revenue. Rather than interrupting stories with lots of annoying ads, we’re choosing to run sponsored posts and surveys that are clearly labeled and fit natively within the site experience. Our first project with WPP is developing a program at medical institutions that gives patients the opportunity to educate doctors and get paid for it. We’ll continue to build out revenue models that bring value to both consumers and clients.

It’s hard to quantify how meaningful The Mighty community actually is, but we see examples every day. Let me end by giving you one I learned about last week.

Over 20,000 people each month visit a particular Mighty story after Googling phrases like, “I want to die” or “I don’t want to live anymore.” The story they find is a heartfelt letter from a woman who has lived through this and asks the reader to hold on. These readers spend an average of 8 minutes reading that letter. The value in getting the right story to the right person at the right moment can be found in one of the comments that reads, “Thank you. You just saved my life.”

The story connected a writer and reader in two different countries more than a year apart. It’s just one of 90 million connections of ideas, moments, experiences and people that happen every month on The Mighty.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences and making these connections happen.

Now more than ever, we’re committed to growing this community with you.

Originally published: October 30, 2017
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