Betches: A Media Revolution

The About page of Betches.com reads,

We’re the website, Instagram, podcasts, store, books – everywhere that young females go to experience the thoughts that run through their heads, but are too afraid or uncomfortable, to say out loud.

In 2011, Samantha Fishbein, Aleen Kuperman, and Jordana Abraham, then seniors at Cornell University, began their company as a WordPress blog catering to other college-aged women and recent graduates. Since then, Betches Media has evolved into a full-fledged multimedia destination, covering a vast range of topics from hard-hitting news and politics, to beauty and dating advice, to entertainment and live events.

The Co-Founders: Samantha Fishbein (COO), Aleen Kuperman (CEO),
and Jordana Abraham (CCO)

In 2017, Forbes estimated that Betches’ revenue exceeded $5 million, and each of the founders was recently named to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Media list. Their overwhelming success has transpired as a direct result of the Betches’ willingness to say the things that everyone is thinking, providing a “community for women around the world who desire to keep things real,” as they say so themselves.

Today the brand features:

But that’s not all. For the bulk of this post I want to focus on two entirely new business ventures that will soon fall under the Betches unbrella and ideally take the company to the next level–a dating app and a Freeform television series.

The Dating App: Ship

First, Ship is the dating app created by Betches in collaboration with Mandy Ginsberg of Match Group (the owners of Match.com, OkayCupid and Tinder), with the goal of mimicking the way women lean on their friends while dating. Fittingly, “dating made fun again” is its slogan.

The instructions are simple. If you’re single, you sign up and invite friends to your Crew. Then you either sit back and let your Crew find you matches, or join them in the search. Finally, you can discuss prospects with your Crew, decide who you want to talk to, and move forward with whoever you choose. If you’re not single, you can sign up and select “I’m not single,” join your single friends’ Crews, and match them with people you deem worthy.

In an interview with Forbes, Fishbein, Kuperman, and Abraham describe how the app will hopefully revolutionize the culture of dating apps. “By inviting your friends and family to join you in the dating experience,” they explain, “the dating experience feels less isolating as there is comfort in numbers… [we] wanted to implement behaviors that mimic the [real life] dating experience like group chats, which are like the digital version of the post-date conversations you have with friends over brunch.”

The Series: Betches

Next, last month Freeform announced its plans to enter the animated comedy space with two new female-led series–one titled Woman World, and one by the name of Betches. The latter will be based on the multimedia brand itself, following three millenial best friends and roommates as they are determined to figure out who they are in their careers and in love. In addition to Fishbein, Kuperman, and Abraham, Emma Roberts of American Horror Story has been named a producer of the show and is likely to voice one of the three main characters.

It had been previously reported by the Hollywood Reporter that the same animated TV series was in the works at Comedy Central, but this announcement seems to align much more seamlessly with the Betches brand. The cheeky, irreverent tone commonly present in the editorial and video content produced by Betches will likely be appreciated by Freeform’s teen and young adult audiences, with the fact that the show will be animated adding another dimension to the channel’s current lineup. The timing of this development does come at an odd moment, given that Disney, Freeform’s parent company, has just announced the introduction of its own streaming service, Disney+. While most Freeform content currently lives on Hulu’s streaming service, it will be interesting to see where the newer content like Betches will end up long term. In my opinion, this could either make or break the show’s success.

The Future of Betches Media

In the same interview where they were asked about Ship, the co-founders of Betches talk about the future of the company:

Bringing Betches into the tech space via Ship has encouraged us to continue to grow our brand onto other platforms. One area in particular we’re continuing to prioritize is our ever-expanding podcasting empire. As a multi-platform media company that mainly reaches our audience digitally, we’re also excited to engage with our audience in new ways, especially through IRL events and partnerships with other like-minded brands.

So far, no other company has even come close to duplicating what Fishbein, Kuperman and Abraham have created. At this point in time, the founders still own 100% of the company. This leaves a lot of room for growth, but also significant room for error.

What do you think–is the future bright for Betches Media?

11 comments

  1. I love Betches and have always been curious about their history so I loved this post! I definitely see the appeal of a betches dating app and I think it’s genius to include friends in the dating app process. Plus this is smart because it adds single people to the potential user base, you don’t have to be single to get something out of the app. As for the TV show I am definitely curious to see how that goes and might even watch an episode or two out of curiosity, but I’m not sure how it will work out since I feel like the appeal of the brand is bite sized internet content. However, I am so impressed by the founders so if their instinct says to get into TV, then they might be onto something

  2. I have never heard of betches before so this post was very insightful! I think the most shocking thing is that they all own 100% of the company, even though it has grown immensely. I think it is sometimes hard to maintain control when a company starts to grow, especially at their rate, so I wonder how long this will last and what the company will look like if they give up ownership. Podcasts have really grown in popularity over the years so I think it is incredibly smart that they are focusing their attention on that platform. The dating app is really cute and clever especially since I have never seen anything remotely like it. Swiping left and right seems to be the norm, so enlisting the help of friends is a unique idea that dating apps have never really explored. These women have done an incredible job and I look forward to seeing how their company expands!

  3. dilillomelissa · · Reply

    I have been a Betches fan for years! I’ve read one of their books, listen to their podcasts and even have been to one of their live comedy shows. My friend’s question was actually just featured on one of their podcasts! I had no idea that they were coming out with a dating app as well. It makes complete sense for the type of business they are in. The app reminds me a little bit of the Grouper app that was popular for a couple years back around 2014. That was another app that you didn’t have to be single to use necessarily or you were paired up to go on dates with others who might be single but also might just be looking to meet new people. I like the idea of the Ship app letting you be as involved as you want in ‘finding a crew’. Betches seems to have the right idea on a lot of the content they product, so I’m interested to see in how this dating app takes off. I wouldn’t be opposed to trying it out.

  4. I’ve been following along with Betches on social media for some time now, so I really enjoyed this post. I’m a big fan of their Instagram and Twitter accounts and always get a good laugh out of a lot of their content, but I was unaware of the other projects that they have going on. I can’t say that I am much of a podcast listener, but I’m interested in giving these ones a shot. After sitting in an office all day and listening to people, the last thing I really want to do when I leave is listen to people talk more, so I usually just stick to turning on a playlist on Spotify, but I could see these being entertaining for my hour long drive home everyday. I think that their dating app concept is pretty interesting and will help to differentiate itself from the ones currently in the market. Being able to have your friends join your “crew” to talk about a prospect is a cool concept, especially if some of your best friends don’t live locally. I’m interested to see what Betches does next and how the projects that they have in the works unfold.

  5. I’ve basically grown up with Betches – I graduated from college at the same time as the founders, and have been reading them since then. It’s been really interesting to watch them grow – for a while, I was concerned that they were going to find themselves in a position similar to fuckjerry, in trouble for posting “stolen” content, and aligned with problematic brands like Billy McFarland and Fyre Festival.

    It seems like they are doing a really good, thoughtful job about what avenues they are expanding into, and how – they have a political newsletter, Sup, which is similar to theSkimm, but very much written in the vein of Betches.

    There’s a really interesting article in Forbes, from about a year ago, talking about their rebranding, which also touches on their previous partnerships with both Bumble and Hinge: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaklich/2018/02/01/the-betches-founders-rebrand-building-a-media-venture-beyond-instagram/#71b303e893a4.

    It will be interesting to see how they continue to grow, especially since they are still fully owned by their founders.

  6. Myself, my sister, and all my girl cousins have loved Betches for a while. The content is accessible, relatable, and above all funny. I wish them all the best, and I love how far they have been able to expand their brand. The TV show must feel like that have really “made it,” but I’m far more interested in their idea for Ship, and mad that I did not think of it. It is literally genius. Most of the greatest relationships I know are people who were set up by friends and family because who knows you better? After you like someone, you hope your friends and family will too, and this completely eliminates that stress. As digital dating is becoming more and more the norm, this is just another way to humanize it more!

  7. I really enjoyed this post as I am a big Betches fan. I love how they use humor and satire as a tool for empowerment. I love their podcasts and think that they’ve done a great job evolving, especially over the last few years. I am excited to see how they continue to grow and think that the web series and dating app show that they are not only confident in the content that they produce but also that they are willing to take risks in order to grow. I think these girls are for sure ones to watch over the next few years.

  8. I loved this post! I have been a fan of betches for a few years- both books and instagram, but never looked into the women behind it or the business model. Rather I just used it for information and enjoyment.
    I also tried Ship with a handful of girlfriends a month ago. We all loved the concept, but not necessarily the execution. We found that even when “Swiping” for others our own presences came out and then we were stuck “matching” with people who we didn’t relate to. However, I had no idea that Betches was behind the app and in general I think it’s a great concept just needs tweaking!

  9. I am a fan of Betches and can always rely on their Instagram content to make me laugh. However, I didn’t know the story behind how it was founded and I didn’t realize just how much they have going on! I’m impressed that Ship was created in collaboration with the owners of such prominent dating apps – in a way, it almost seems to make Ship more legitimate by association. The concept seems really interesting and I would be curious to hear feedback on how people like it. Additionally, venturing into the world of TV seems like a huge move, and I’m interested to see how their shows do. As you pointed out, the timing is interesting given that Disney is launching its own streaming service, and I wonder how this will impact its success if the shows are exclusively shown on the Disney platform.

  10. This is awesome! I have never heard about them so thank you for explaining who they are and what they do. I think with so many people on IG, their content is one that will keep people laughing and with the Freeform announcement, they will probably get more views and a larger audience. With so many dating apps, Ship’s approach and model is a little different and I think makes them stand out. Having your crew decide for you while you’re at the top kind of evaluating potential dates is a cool concept for sure. I think ultimately what they’re doing are things that 1. appeal to the general public around dating and 2. keeping things REAL with introduction of T.V. series that could keep things interesting.

  11. Loved this! I followed them on instagram and relate to so much of their content, I think it’s hilarious. I had no idea about the podcasts and books, though. Also so impressive that they still own 100% of the company, that is so rare and so great for them, but does leave them open to errors for sure. I have seen ship advertised on their Instagram account and think it is a really cool twist on the traditional dating app, as it is so true that people rely so much on the opinions of their friends and family, so why not let them join in on the ground level! Interesting point with what streaming services the TV show will be available on, I completely agree that it could make or break them.

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