who-owns-discord

Who owns Discord?

  • Discord is a communication platform used by gamers but also by businesses, communities, and individuals for voice, video, and text chat. The platform is owned by Discord Inc. and is the brainchild of Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy. 
  • Discord Inc. is a privately held company with the co-founders likely to be majority owners. Clues to Discord’s ownership structure can also be found by exploring the company’s investors.
  • Some of the key Discord investors across multiple successful funding rounds include Tencent, Sony, Dragoneer Investment Group, Index Ventures, Accel, Fidelity Investments, and Franklin Templeton.
AspectsDetailsAnalysis
Type of OwnershipPrivate companyBeing privately held offers Discord flexibility in decision-making and strategy, without the immediate pressure of public markets.
Majority OwnersJason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy (co-founders)Co-founders likely have strong influence, aligning the company with their vision and goals.
Key InvestorsTencent, Sony, Dragoneer Investment Group, Index Ventures, Accel, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton, OthersInvestors bring financial resources and industry expertise, potentially shaping Discord’s growth and partnerships.
Ownership InfluenceCo-founders likely have significant control; Investors may have influence based on ownership stakesBalance between co-founders and investors’ influence can impact strategic decisions, requiring alignment for success.
Acquisition RumorsDiscord has considered staying independent despite acquisition rumorsStaying independent may reflect a desire to maintain autonomy and continue pursuing their long-term vision.
Financial StrengthValued at over $15 billion; Attracted substantial investmentsHigh valuation and investments indicate confidence in Discord’s potential and financial stability.
Potential IPODiscord may consider an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the futureAn IPO can offer liquidity and fund growth but may introduce public scrutiny and governance changes.
Impact on StrategyOwnership structure influences strategic decisions, including platform development and expansion strategiesThe balance between co-founder vision and investor expectations can shape Discord’s approach to growth and innovation.
User TrustOwnership structure can impact user trust and confidence in the platform’s stability and commitmentUsers may trust the platform more if it’s backed by reputable investors or co-founders with a proven track record.
Long-Term StabilityOwnership reflects who is vested in Discord’s long-term successUnderstanding ownership helps assess the commitment of key stakeholders to Discord’s sustainability and growth.

Background

Discord is a popular communication platform used by gamers but also increasingly by businesses, communities, and individuals for voice, video, and text chat. The platform is owned by Discord Inc. and is the brainchild of Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy. 

Discord enables users to create and join servers – akin to virtual communities – and also channels within those servers for specific discussions. 

Discord Inc. is a privately held company despite rumors around a potential takeover from Microsoft. Nevertheless, clues to Discord’s ownership structure can be found by exploring the company’s key personnel and successful funding rounds in more detail.

Here’s what you need to know about the company’s owners. 

Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy

As co-founders of the company, Citron and Vishnevskiy likely own a sizeable portion of the company. Citron is the current CEO who also founded the social platform OpenFeint, which was later sold to Japanese mobile network GREE for $104 million in 2011. Some of these funds were then used to found the game development studio Hammer & Chisel. 

Vishnevsky is also an entrepreneur who founded the social network and web-hosting service Guildwork. The platform was primarily used to facilitate group activities at scale within MMORPGs (massively multiplayer role-playing games) such as World of Warcraft. Vishnevsky currently serves as Discord’s CTO.

Funding round investors

Discord’s ability to grow to 350 million registered users in seven years is at least partly due to several successful funding rounds. The company’s latest funding round in 2022 saw it valued at over $15 billion, and according to some, has aspirations to hold an IPO.

Some of these investors are listed below.

Early funding

Early on, Hammer & Chisel secured seed funding to develop Discord from YouWeb’s 9+ incubator in addition to other early investors such as Accel, TWI, and IDG. 

A second round of funding took place later in 2015 with Tencent and Silicon Valley VC firm Benchmark capital taking part. Soon after, in January 2016, WarnerMedia made a $20 million investment but later sold its equity after it was acquired by AT&T.

Series F and Series G

Greenoaks Capital led a $150 million A Series F funding round in December 2018. Also participating were Tencent, Firstmark, IVP, Index Ventures, and Technology Opportunity Partners. Around this time, Discord reportedly walked away from an acquisition deal with Microsoft to remain an independent company.

This was followed by a $100 million Series G round in June 2020 to coincide with Discord’s shift toward a more general-purpose communication platform. VC firm Index Ventures was once again involved.

Series H

Discord’s Series H funding round of September 2021 is the company’s most significant to date. The $500 million round was led by growth-oriented investment firm Dragoneer Investment Group and also involved Baillie Gifford, Coatue Management, Fidelity Investments, and Franklin Templeton.

The round also included a minority investment from Sony Interactive Entertainment after the two companies agreed to incorporate Discord into PlayStation consoles.

Business Model:

  • Discord operates as a multi-sided platform where users can create and join servers for specific discussions, similar to virtual communities.
  • The platform offers free-to-use basic features, but it also has a premium subscription service called “Discord Nitro” that provides additional benefits to subscribers for a monthly fee.
  • Discord also generates revenue through licensing agreements with developers who use their platform, and it may explore other revenue streams in the future.

Ownership Structure:

  • Discord Inc. is a privately held company, and the co-founders, Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy, are likely to be majority owners.
  • Other investors, including Tencent, Sony, Dragoneer Investment Group, Index Ventures, Accel, Fidelity Investments, and Franklin Templeton, also hold stakes in the company.

Organizational Structure:

The organizational structure of Discord Inc. is not publicly disclosed, but as a technology company, it likely follows a standard corporate hierarchy with different teams and departments responsible for various aspects of the platform’s development, operations, and growth.

Leadership Style:

  • The leadership style at Discord Inc. is likely to be driven by its co-founders, Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy, who have a background in entrepreneurship and tech innovation.
  • The company may emphasize a culture of innovation, creativity, and agility to stay ahead in the competitive communication and gaming industry.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discord is a prominent communication platform used by a diverse user base, including gamers, businesses, communities, and individuals.
  • The company is privately held and has raised significant funding from various investors, leading to its valuation of over $15 billion.
  • Discord’s business model relies on providing a free-to-use platform with premium subscription options and generating revenue through licensing agreements with developers.
  • The co-founders, Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy, play crucial roles in shaping the company’s vision and direction, supported by a team of talented professionals.
  • Discord’s success can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, continuous innovation, and ability to cater to various user needs, making it a popular choice for communication and collaboration among its users.

Key Highlights of Discord:

  • Platform Purpose: Discord is a communication platform primarily for gamers but has expanded to businesses, communities, and individuals. It offers voice, video, and text chat functionalities.
  • Ownership: Discord Inc. owns the platform. The co-founders, Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy, are likely significant stakeholders.
  • Investors: The platform has seen investments from major players such as Tencent, Sony, Dragoneer Investment Group, Index Ventures, Accel, Fidelity Investments, and Franklin Templeton through various funding rounds.
  • Growth: Discord boasts 350 million registered users, with its latest funding in 2022 valuing the company at over $15 billion.
  • Co-founders’ Background:
    • Jason Citron, the current CEO, previously founded the social platform OpenFeint, which sold for $104 million. He also started the game development studio Hammer & Chisel.
    • Stanislav Vishnevskiy, the CTO, founded the social network Guildwork, targeting MMORPGs like World of Warcraft.
  • Funding Rounds:
    • Initial seed funding from YouWeb’s 9+ incubator, Accel, TWI, and IDG.
    • Investments from Tencent and Benchmark capital in 2015, and WarnerMedia in 2016.
    • A significant Series F round in 2018 led by Greenoaks Capital.
    • A Series G round in 2020 marked Discord’s shift towards a more general-purpose platform, with involvement from Index Ventures.
    • The substantial Series H round in 2021 included a minority investment from Sony Interactive Entertainment.
  • Business Model:
    • Discord operates a multi-sided platform, allowing users to create and join server communities.
    • The platform offers both free and a premium subscription service named “Discord Nitro.”
    • Revenue is also generated through licensing agreements with developers.
  • Organizational Structure: Though specific details are not publicly known, Discord likely follows a typical tech company’s structure with diverse teams and departments.
  • Leadership Style: Driven by co-founders with a focus on innovation, creativity, and agility, adapting to the evolving communication and gaming industry.
  • Overall: Discord is a dynamic platform with a vast user base, significant valuation, and a promising future in the communication and collaboration sector.

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