John O'nolan uses the 5-year mark for the Ghost project to reflect on the journey and provide some interesting insights into their performance and numbers.
Last week marked the fifth anniversary since the Ghost Kickstarter campaign which started it all. It's always fun to use these milestones to take a step back and reflect on the journey so far. On previous birthdays I've talked about revenue milestones and product updates, but this year I'm going to focus more on all the things we've learned since we started.
Just for context though, here's a quick overview of where we are today:
Annual Net Revenue: $1.2million
All-time Revenue: $3million
Github Stars: 25,000
Sites using Ghost: 512,000
Biggest users: Apple, Tinder, DuckDuckGo, Mozilla, OpenAI, OkCupid, Square, Vevo, DigitalOcean, Napster, CloudFlare and many, many more.
Runway: Just kidding, we've been profitable since year 1
We started working on Ghost because we wanted to build a great open source publishing platform which would empower independent creators, but we also started this company as a social experiment. We wanted to know: What would it look like if you built a technology startup which could not make anyone rich. If you eliminated all the promises of wealth from the roadmap up front, and tried to build a good company, how would that affect the product,
Sharing this not because Ghost is WordPress competitor but because more and more companies based around remote work are probably facing this same challenge.
In the next couple of months we’ll be reincorporating the Ghost Foundation in Singapore and closing down all operations in the UK. This is easily the biggest business change we've made to Ghost since it started, and will hopefully give us a much easier time trading internationally! This was a huge decision which represents the conclusion of a full year of research, planning and hard work. So, we wanted to take a moment to share exactly how and why we’re doing it.
Let’s start with a simple question: Where should any business legally incorporate?
For a regular business, the answer is typically synonymous with the location of the business’ premises, staff, customers or investors. In most cases, they’re actually all in the same place.
But, of course, Ghost has never been a regular business.
We’re a distributed company: we have no business premises, and our staff are all over the world
We’re an online company: thanks to the power of the internet, our customers are all over the world
We’re a non-profit organisation: we have no investors, and don’t need to optimise for their legal needs
So: Where should Ghost be incorporated?
We don’t really know.
In the early days, we just went with what
A look back at Year 3. $600,000 Annual Revenue ain't bad folks.
On the 29th of April in 2013, I sat down in a beautiful little co-working space in Austria called Daxbau, and launched that Ghost Kickstarter campaign. Almost precisely 3 years later, I've returned to the exact same spot to write this post while I await the rest of the Ghost team to join me here for our first team trip of the year. It's always fun to take some time and look back at just how far we've come every 12 months, and I'm even more excited to tell you about where we'll be going next!
Ghost in Numbers: $600,000 Annual Revenue
Total downloads: 1,088,580
Github Stars: 19,301
Ghost(Pro) subscribers: 4,705
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR): $50,038
Annual recurring revenue (ARR): $600,456
Average revenue per user: $10.59
Churn rate: 4.9%
Team size: 9 people across 5 countries and 3 continents (+2 on trial, and 2 open positions)
In summary? Everything is looking really good, and our growth is healthy, sustainable and profitable. We still do zero marketing, and 100% of Ghost's growth has been word of mouth.
You can find all of our other financial data, available to view by anyone, over on Baremetrics.
Looking back on Year 3
Ghost's third year was a weird one, and in many ways a transitional
Today we are very proud to announce the first public release of the Ghost blogging platform to the public. Following three weeks of intense testing after launching to our 6,000 Kickstarter backers, today we are releasing an updated Ghost 0.3.2 to everyone in the world.
It was less than a year ago that I first published my idea for a simpler blogging platform. I can't believe how far we've come already, and the incredible support we've had at every step of the way.
The future of Ghost is incredibly bright and we welcome you to join us on the journey of this, its first chapter.
With that, we have an absolute ton of news about today's launch which is incredibly exciting:
Open Signup on Ghost.org
The most important piece of news, of course, is that Ghost.org is now open for signups from everybody. Get over there, create your account, grab your username, download Ghost, and check out the forums.