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Home STARTUPS 6 Startups That Built Multi-Million Dollar Companies From Publishing

6 Startups That Built Multi-Million Dollar Companies From Publishing

We live in the age of noise where companies are in a constant struggle to distinguish their brands and hold a place in the hearts of users.

It is interesting to know how some companies are using one of the oldest forms of marketing to grow their business and increase profitability.

Content marketing is here to stay and companies that adopt this technique have gone to build multi-million dollar businesses from scratch.

In this article you will find great insights on how these companies went from zero to million users through plain-old publishing.


Mint was not the first personal finance software startup but in 2 years it grew to become the biggest personal finance software service company in US.

Mint started a personal finance blog that catered to young professionals. The blog quickly became No 1 in personal finance and helped drive traffic to the app. Its rich infographics and popular articles were shared across popular forums such as Digg and Reddit.

The blog shared various topics on finance in a way that was fun to read and easy to understand . The early members of Mint such as Aaron Patzer (Founder and CEO), David Micheals (VP of Engineering), Json Putorti (Lead Engineer) made significant contributions to the blog.

In November 2009, Intuit bought Mint for $170 million.


Learnvest is a finantial planning company founded by Alexa Von Toebel in 2009 to help women manage their finances. In 2015 Learnvest was acquired by Northwestern Mutual for $250 million.

One key area Learnvest capitalised for growth was content. It developed a highly effective content strategy by syndicating content to popular websites such as Huffingtonpost, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and many more.

It did this by publishing 3 – 7 contents daily and also creating its own unique voice with its readers. Learnvest touched on people’s emotion with long personal essays submitted by users about overcoming debt. This made it become very popular in its niche.


It’s unbelievable! Dollar Shave Club built a $1 billion company from a simple youtube video.

Dollarshave club is a subscription-based razor service and personal grooming company that took a boring business and made it into a full lifestyle brand. In 2015, it was acquired by Unilver for a billion dollar in cash. It has over 1.1 million paying subscribers and 45 full-time staff.

Dollar Shave Club is not the only company to have used Youtube publishing for growth but the effectiveness of its approach is a lesson to every business seeking growth.


Buffer was a tweet scheduling app that grew into a full social media management app.

In its early days Buffer leveraged heavily on guest posting on popular blogs to grow traffic to its app. CEO, Leo Widrich would write 2 to 3 articles monthly on the blog but soon increased the frequency to 3 to 4 weekly.

He quickly formed relationship with bloggers and in 10 months Buffer already had 100,000 users on its app. Overall Buffer’s marketing strategy relied heavily on creating epic contents that were engaging and easily sharable.

ifixit’s Director of Outreach, Kay-Kay Clapp busy at her work station. Image Source: inc.com


iFixit is one of the greatest lesson in good content marketing and publishing.

iFixit helps millions of people around the world fix things. On its website it has more than 25,000 manuals covering instructions on how to fix over 7000 devices. In 2016, iFixit helped more than 94 million people around the world fix various devices.

It makes it money from selling tools and parts used by people in fixing their devices. It also makes money by training independent repair technicians. Last year it made $21 million and it’s very profitable.


How do you grow a $500 million beauty company from publishing on Youtube. Well Michelle Phan seems to have the answers.

Ipsy is the subscription beauty sampling business founded by Youtube vlogger, Michelle Phan. In 2007 Michelle started to make youtube makeup tutotials and quickly grew a loyal fan base.

She has been able to rack up over 8 million fans who can’t wait to watch her tutorials. Michelle believes Youtube fans are authentic and trust youtube influencers more than celebrities. Ipsy has raised over $103 million from investors and ships over 1.5 million subscription boxes to members in the US and Canada.

Are you still struggling marketing your business, app or website? Do you think you aren’t getting enough Return on Investment (ROI) for your marketing effort? Probably you should give publishing a trial. While this may not be the only strategy used by these companies, this strategy has helped some of the biggest companies gain users quickly and become quite successful.


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