Pico is thrilled to announce the completion of a $4.5M seed financing round led by Precursor Ventures and Stripe, with participation by Bloomberg Beta, Village Global, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures. Charles Hudson, Managing Partner at Precursor Ventures, will join founders Jason Bade and Nick Chen on the board of directors. We’re also announcing the general availability of the Pico platform, following a yearlong private beta with select participants.

Pico’s Audience Relationship Management platform is built for an emerging class of small and midsize businesses creating close-knit communities around content and identity. They range from local newsrooms and trade publications to fan clubs, non-profits, and much more. The previous generation of these businesses relied primarily on advertising revenue, but those fortunes have faded in dramatic fashion, especially as browsers and governments around the world have increasingly restricted the flow of personal data from consumers to advertisers.

We see a Cambrian explosion of media entrepreneurs on the horizon who are focusing instead on unique products, services, events, and communities built on a foundation of close audience relationships. This movement, led over the past decade by companies like The New York Times, Netflix, and Spotify, and more recently accelerated by individual creators on platforms like Patreon, is now expanding to the vast middle ground between these extremes. Smaller teams of journalists and creatives are able to reach resonant audiences with the help of today’s dominant discovery platforms, and with Pico, they now have an all-in-one, code-free solution for registration, data, and revenue.

These announcements represent a critical step toward unlocking the full potential of this sector in our digital economy. During our private beta, we were inspired by the success of customers like Block Club Chicago, Boise Dev, The Colorado Sun, ImpactAlpha, and VinePair, who demonstrated a range of creative use cases for Pico, while also revealing key opportunities for our future product development. With our seed funding, we look forward to further expanding our set of analytics and revenue tools to make media entrepreneurship truly within reach for all storytellers.

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