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Why we switched from Substack to Beehiiv

The big switch: explained

Yesterday, we flipped the switch on a major change for PreSeed Now: we moved newsletter platforms from Substack to Beehiiv.

Substack was a great place to get started. It’s got a simple and effective interface and makes it easy to build a paid subscription business.

But over time, a few things changed:

We wanted more flexibility:

  • We wanted to become more creative in how we blend free and paid content. Substack allows for a simple paywall, but we had ideas for paid content that would make more sense at the top of a newsletter, before the free content

  • We wanted more flexibility in layout and presentation. Substack is one-size-fits-all by design

We wanted to grow our business our way, not Substack’s:

  • We’d reached a scale where it would cost less to pay for Beehiiv’s top tier annual subscription than it would to give 10% of every subscription payment to Substack. Just switching boosted our revenue!

  • As we give away around 50% of each article for free, the Substack paywall wasn’t particularly obvious. To many casual readers, it just looked like the article had ended. We couldn’t write a detailed tease for what free subscribers would see if they paid, because it would show for paid subscribers too.

  • After talking to the Beehiiv’s CEO and team, it was clear Beehiiv’s product roadmap is in line with what we want for the next stages of PreSeed Now

  • The Substack ‘network effect’ just wasn’t very powerful for us. While many Substack users talk about how many of their subscribers come from automated recommendations, that was never a big driver of subscriptions for us. The market for in-depth coverage of very early-stage B2B and deep tech startups is deeper than it is wide. The ‘network effect’ is probably more effective for broader publications.

  • That said, we’re looking forward to seeing how Beehiiv’s own growth tools help us. Its API could prove useful to us in the future, too.

And of course…

  • ….And while we made the decision to switch before the news stories exploded over Christmas, Substack’s morals just didn’t sit well with us.

Long story short, switching the Beehiiv gives us more flexibility with our content and more revenue.

If you’re a PreSeed Now subscriber, nothing should have changed except the layout of the newsletters you receive and the address they come from.

And if you’re not a PreSeed Now subscriber, why not give it a try? You’ll discover a new early-stage B2B or deep tech startup–profiled in depth–every Tuesday and Thursday. 👇