Something New from XOXO
Six years ago, we launched XOXO with a singular mission: to bring together and celebrate artists and creators of all kinds using the internet to make a living.
Since then, every project we’ve taken on carried forward that mission. Last month, we held our sixth festival in Portland, Oregon, bringing together over 2,300 people to share their stories and make new friends. Our Slack team is the year-round incarnation of that community, with thousands of members providing support for one another year-round. (And we still miss The Outpost, our shared workspace for indie artists, which closed at the end of 2016.)
As we’ve seen XOXO evolve from an event into a community, we started thinking about what more we could do to help artists and creators everywhere share their work, connect with their audiences, and most critically, get paid.
We’re very excited to announce we’ve started work on a new project to tackle that problem.
Last year, Kickstarter launched Drip, a new tool to help creators build ongoing support for their creative practice. After this year’s XOXO, Kickstarter approached us to help think about the best way to support creators with subscription-based funding, opening a new direction that closely aligned with our own mission.
With seed funding provided by Kickstarter, we formed a new company, and we’ve started work on a new platform for independent artists and creators to get discovered, find a community around their work, and build a long-term, sustainable career.
As you might expect, we plan on building on our experience with XOXO to create a space that’s much more community-driven, allowing creators to build a following at any point, whether they’re actively looking for funding or not.
While we’re under development, Kickstarter will continue to operate Drip in its current state, supporting existing creators and subscribers until we’re ready to bring them in. We’re working closely with existing Drip creators to make sure that process is as seamless as possible.
XOXO and Kickstarter have a long history together, and we’re very happy to continue the collaboration. Andy Baio helped get Kickstarter off the ground as the company’s first CTO and continued as a long-time advisor to the company, while Andy McMillan was an early adopter, using Kickstarter to launch his design journal The Manual. The first XOXO festival got its start as a Kickstarter project in 2012, and the Kickstarter team’s participated in every festival since.
Kickstarter reincorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) in 2015, protecting their mission to help bring creative projects to life at the deepest level instead of solely chasing profits. And Kickstarter is publicly committed to staying independent and private, an unusual stance that separates it from so much of what we dislike about startup culture.
We incorporated our new company as a PBC for the same reason, and we’re structuring it to be sustainable and independent for the long term. We understand the responsibility that comes from building tools that support independent creators—many of them relying on that income for survival—and take that responsibility seriously.