Can news startup Scroll succeed where others failed?

Now in beta, micropayments startup Scroll is the new news kid on the block, hoping to change how people consume news while supporting a free press. For $5 a month, subscribers will be able to get an ad-free news experience from Scroll’s partners including The Atlantic, Gannett, Fusion Media Group, Business Insider, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Talking Points Memo, Slate and MSNBC.

Starting with $3 million in funding from venture capitalists and three top publishers (Axel Springer, Newscorp and The New York Times), the company has spent the last year selling its idea and signing on strategic partners and additional investors. In a March 1, 2017 post, Scroll described its reason for being:

‘There’s no shortage of great journalism online but it is overwhelmed and underfunded in a distraction economy that neither values the work or its readers. Despite increasing contortions and compromises, none of it has made the business of journalism any more secure,’ said Scroll.

With a team comprised of former employees from companies including Chartbeat, Beme, Google, Foursquare and Spotify, Scroll seems to be off to a strong start. It is starting with a valid premise and a commendable goal – improving the user experience for news consumers and leveling the playing field for publishers struggling to find a business model that works – and some solid funding and partnerships to help lay a solid foundation. That said, there are other companies (e.g. Medium) who have also attempted to change how people consume and pay for news that still haven’t quite nailed it.

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