Exclusive: Meetup.com is one of my top seven websites for two reasons. First, they have simple and effective tools to manage and update a like-minded community. Second, they are one of the best sites to help you move from the online space and into the real world. When you sign up a group you have to check a box that says you will have real world in-person meetings. Meetup is also a poster child for the NYC tech scene and tech companies that emerged from the dot-com ashes. Now ten years since the site was conceived and under development, Meetup.com is printing money every single day. I conservatively estimate they’re doing somewhere between $25MM-$30MM each year and here’s why.
First you must understand that Meetup.com wasn’t always a paid service. Originally the majority of their organizers didn’t pay anything, but that led to a low quality of meetups and groups that CEO Scott Heiferman explains in my interview with him last fall. While the switch to paid meetups sent their website traffic off a cliff, it set the tone for the type of quality they would require of it’s organizers. If you won’t pay, you’re not really welcome on the platform.
Heiferman has released a series of metrics over the course of the past 12 months of how many Meetups the site has on a particular day. These range anywhere from 3k a day to 13k a day. See them mapped out below. The top two or three metrics were also said to be all-time highs for the service.
We also know that Meetup charges anywhere from $12 to $20 per meetup depending on how many meetups you prepay for. These prices have been pretty consistent for as long as I’ve used the platform with the exception of a couple of price breaks coming in early 2012 for new organizers.
It is safe to assume that at least 50% of their daily meetups come from longtime organizers at $12 per month. I also assume that 25% of organizers are either just starting or never bought the bulk package (in reality this number is probably much higher). I will also assume that 25% come from the middle option of $15 per month. At that rate, with an average of 4,000 daily meetups, Meetup.com has somewhere in the range of $20MM-$25MM in yearly gross revenue with some days where they’re grossing as much as $200K. They also have a lot of promotional sponsorship programs that they push to they organizers and meetup attendees. These are really annoying and I would hope that they wouldn’t subject their organizers to these for under a couple of million dollars each year, but possibly as high as $5MM. That puts Meetup.com comfortably in the $25MM-$30MM yearly revenue range.
This pails in comparison to their largest competitor Eventbrite who is rumored to be in the hundreds of millions of revenue, but they only keep a small percentage (2%-10%) of that pushing the bulk directly to the event organizers. Meetup has positioned itself to own the community space versus the ticket sales business that Eventbrite is in.