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When we launched The Ken in October 2016 as the first digital-only subscription product for business news in India, many critics and cynics had passed us off as a fad that would peter out in less than a year. Indians in general wouldn’t pay for subscriptions and more so for content, and the few that might, would be too small a number.

18 months later, not only has The Ken survived, we have gone far beyond that.

In April 2018 The Ken turned profitable.

With 15 full-time employees and offices in three locations.

And one revenue stream. Subscriptions. No advertisements, no events, no native ads. Just subscriptions.

In the eighteen months since our launch, not only have thousands of subscribers trusted us as a source of definitive news and insights, subscribers have been signing up for The Ken at an ever faster pace. On an average, we’re seeing 3-4X more subscribers sign up each day, compared to when we started out in 2016. The last 3 months have seen our highest subscription numbers, with no signs of stopping or slowing down. Over 90% of our subscribers also have our exclusive subscriber apps installed and our renewal rates are nothing less than stellar.

This is because we’ve stayed focused on our promise to subscribers – one original story every weekday. That features deep reporting, analytical insight, informed opinions and some of the best writing in business journalism in India.

Our revenue for April 2018 was 2X our average 2017 monthly revenue, and 4X our average 2016 monthly revenue.

This momentum is powered by our subscribers and is now undeniable. It is also unprecedented, and frankly, unexpected.

When we raised our relatively modest angel round of $400,000 in 2016, we assumed a “runway” of ~2 years before the money would run out and we’d need to raise again. But nearly 4/5th  of the way there, we have most of our angel investment in the bank.

Getting to at-scale profitability is a momentous milestone for any startup and it is a badge of honour that we now wear with humility and a deep sense of gratitude towards our subscribers, team members and investors.

That said, we don’t want to get fixated on profits just as yet. We haven’t reached a place yet in our evolution for us to say, “Hmmm, I think this is a good enough place for me to drop anchor and start focusing on profits.” Instead, we want to spend money to innovate, experiment and grow even faster.

Because we’re just getting started.

There will be new products. New experiments. New writers. New goals. And new business model plays.

And new failures. Yes, at The Ken we will continue to remain a place where we will do things that are creative, fun, valuable and strategic. But some of those bets might fail, and we’re okay with that.

Onward and upward!

As we build out The Ken into India’s most trusted subscription-based digital journalism platform, we will be looking to expand our team in the following areas. If you think you fit the bill, write to us at [email protected]

Staff Writers – Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore

Digital Marketing Manager – Bangalore

Graphic Designer & Illustrator – Bangalore


Rohin Dharmakumar

Rohin is co-founder and CEO at The Ken. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and an engineering degree in Computer Sciences from the R.V.C.E., Bangalore.

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