- Juggernaut is an online newspaper that only writes about South Asia
- It has raised $2 Million from its subscription services
- Juggernaut is looking to build up its base by writing exclusive stories
What is The Juggernaut?
The Juggernaut is a premium publication and community that publishes smart takes and well-reported stories about South Asia and South Asians.
In October 2017, Snigdha Sur started The Juggernaut as a free newsletter, called InkMango. As she searched for news on the South Asian diaspora, she found that articles lacked original reporting. She saw that aggregation was repetitive. Mainstream news organizations weren’t answering big questions, she said.
When InkMango crossed 700 readers, Sur saw an opportunity for a full-bodied media company. Later, The Juggernaut has worked with more than 100 contributors to provide analysis on South Asian news.
Recent headlines on The Juggernaut include: The Evolution of Padma Lakshmi; How Ancestry Test Results Became Browner; and How the Death of a Bollywood Actor Became a Political Proxy War.
What’s next for Juggernaut?
The network approach, instead of a single newsletter approach is working so far. Sur says that The Juggernaut has garnered “thousands of subscribers.” During COVID-19, The Juggernaut’s net subscribers have grown 20% to 30% month over month.
Due to this Growth, The Juggernaut announced that it has raised a $2 million seed round led by Precursor Ventures to hire editors and a full-time growth engineer and expand new editorial projects.
Other investors in the round include Unpopular Ventures, Backstage Capital, New Media Ventures, and Old Town Media. Angels include former Andreessen Horowitz general partner Balaji Srinivasan; co-founder of Kabam, Holly Liu; and co-founder of sports-focused publication The Athletic, Adam Hansmann.
The Juggernaut is part of a growing number of media companies trying to directly monetize off of subscriptions instead of advertisements, such as The Information, The Athletic, and even our very own Extra Crunch. If successful, the hope is that paid subscriptions will prove more sustainable and lucrative than advertising, which still dominates in the media.
“Sometimes at media companies people over-hire and over-promise, and then don’t deliver on the profitability or return,” she said. For this reason, The Juggernaut largely works with “freelancers who would probably never join any specific publication,” Sur said. While The Juggernaut hopes to have full-time staff writers eventually, the contributor approach helps temper spending.
The Juggernaut is looking to build up its subscriber base by writing stories that require deep, creative thinking. The publication intentionally does not cover commoditized breaking news, which could have the potential to bring in more inbound traffic, or anything that doesn’t have a South Asian connection.
“We try not to translate words we don’t have to do, we’re not trying to dumb this down, we’re not trying to write for the white teen,” Sur said. “We’re trying to write for the smart, curious person. And we’re going to assume you know stuff.”