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From Pilot to Powerhouse: Discord’s Journey to Dominance

Discord: A History of Growth and Funding

In recent years, Discord has become one of the most popular chat services used by gamers and non-gamers alike. The company has come a long way since its inception in 2015, with a unique voice and text chat platform that has taken the world by storm.

In this article, we will dive into Discord’s history, founders, funding, and growth journey. 1.

Discord’s History

Discord was founded by Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy. Citron had previously founded OpenFeint, a mobile social gaming network that was acquired by GREE International.

Vishnevskiy, on the other hand, had founded Guildwork, which provided chat and organizational tools for online gaming communities. Combining their expertise, the two launched Discord in May 2015 as a pilot service.

The platform was designed as an alternative to the existing voice chat platforms that had many issues like latency, poor audio quality, and high bandwidth requirements. Discord was developed to be an all-in-one voice and text chat service that could be used across multiple devices, including PCs, mobile phones, and tablets.

2. Discord’s Growth and Funding

Discord’s user base began to grow, and by the end of 2016, the company had over 25 million users.

With an active user base and a constantly evolving platform, Discord managed to attract significant investment from both corporate and venture capital firms. 2.1 Early Funding and Partnerships

In 2018, Discord raised $50 million in funding from a group of investors that included Warner Media, Tencent, Spark Capital, and Index Ventures.

The investment round also included the esports platform, Twitch, which was a boon for Discord’s growth, as Twitch was a significant streaming platform for gaming content. With increased funding and strong backing, Discord began to expand its user base globally, with users from all walks of life flocking to the platform to connect with friends and communities around the world.

2.2 Continued Funding and Strategic Acquisitions

As Discord continued to expand and dominate the chat market, it made strategic acquisitions like Sentrop Technologies to beef up its security and anti-hacker capabilities. In 2021, Discord also acquired Ubiquity6, a San Francisco-based startup that specializes in creating augmented reality experiences and cross-platform applications.

In addition, the company acquired the Blitz app, which focused on helping players optimize their gaming experiences. The acquisition cemented Discord’s focus on becoming a platform that provides a wide array of tools to gamers, from communication to improving their gaming setup.


Discord’s journey, from its inception to its current status as a market leader in the chat application space, is a testament to the founders’ vision and execution. The company’s continued growth and expansion, coupled with its strategic acquisitions and partnerships, have positioned it as a force to reckon with.

As a result, it has solidified its position as the go-to chat platform for gamers and non-gamers alike. Overall, Discord’s rise to prominence is a clear example of how a simple idea can grow into something massive with the right execution and strategic vision.

3. Discord’s Expansion and User Base

3.1 Growth and Partnerships

Discord’s growth and user base extended beyond the gaming community and onto platforms such as Microsoft, YouTube, and Spotify.

With the rise of online collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic, Discord’s partnership with Microsoft allowed for seamless integration and screen sharing between Discord and Microsoft’s Office and Skype products. YouTube has also partnered with Discord, enabling content creators to connect and collaborate with their followers on Discord.

Similarly, music streaming company Spotify allows users to share and listen to music with their friends directly on the platform. These partnerships have served to cement Discord’s position as a platform that fosters communication and collaboration beyond the gaming industry.

3.2 Increase in Users due to COVID-19 and Privacy Concerns

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a surge in users joining Discord. As more people were forced to work and socialize from home, they sought out virtual communities to connect with.

Discord’s emphasis on creating a platform where people from all over the world could interact and communicate made it a go-to platform. Users flocked to Discord to stay in touch with friends and family, join online communities, participate in virtual events, and more.

However, the growth in Discord’s user base has also led to concerns around privacy and user data. In 2018, it was revealed that Facebook had granted software developers access to users’ private data, drawing attention to the industry’s need for increased privacy measures.

Discord, like many other companies, has been working to address these concerns, implementing measures such as end-to-end encryption for voice calls. 4.

Discord’s Business Model and Revenue Streams

4.1 Premium Model Subscription Fees

Discord’s core service is free to use, but the company generates revenue through its premium model subscription fees. Discord Nitro Classic and Discord Nitro are the two paid subscriptions, with Nitro Classic costing $4.99 per month and Nitro costing $9.99 per month.

These subscription services come with additional perks such as higher-quality voice communication, larger file uploads, and access to animated emojis and custom avatars. 4.2 Discord Store, Merchandise Store, In-app Purchases, and Ticket Sales

In addition to subscription fees, Discord has also expanded its revenue streams through the Discord Store and Merchandise Store.

The Discord Store allows developers to sell their games directly on the platform, with Discord receiving a distribution fee of 10% of the game’s purchase price. The Merchandise Store, on the other hand, offers users the option to purchase Discord-branded merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, and mugs.

Discord also makes revenue from in-app purchases and ticket sales. Several servers on Discord have their own virtual currencies, which users can purchase using real money.

These currencies can be used to purchase in-app items, such as stickers and custom emotes. Additionally, Discord has implemented a ticketing system that allows users to purchase tickets for virtual events hosted on the platform.

Overall, Discord has diversified its revenue streams beyond its subscription model, making it a versatile platform that caters to the needs of the gaming and non-gaming community. Discord’s ability to evolve its business model and revenue streams is another reason why it has been able to expand its reach and user base over the years.

5. Discord’s Financial Performance

5.1 Revenue and Valuation

With a valuation of $15 billion as of 2021, Discord has seen significant growth over the years.

The company’s last reported revenue was $130 million, but this figure is expected to rise as Discord continues to expand and diversify its revenue streams. In December 2020, Discord raised an additional $100 million in funding, bringing its total funding to $480 million.

Microsoft was reportedly in talks to acquire Discord for $10 billion or more, but negotiations fell through in April 2021. Despite this, Discord is still expected to maintain its status as a significant player in the chat application space.

5.2 User Base and Market Share

Discord boasts a user base of over 300 million registered members, with 150 million active users each month. The platform’s market share has also grown, with 50% year-to-year growth in 2020 and a projected 40% growth this year.

Discord’s strong user base and market share are due in part to the platform’s versatility in catering to gamers and non-gamers alike. 6.

Discord’s Value Proposition and Customer Segments

6.1 Value Proposition

Discord’s value proposition is centered around offering users online communication technologies that enable them to establish genuine relationships with others. The platform’s emphasis on group communication and collaboration creates a sense of community and a shared experience that transcends conventional social media and messaging platforms.

Discord’s value proposition also extends to the platform’s reliability, user-friendly interface, and the ability to easily connect with like-minded individuals. These features have made Discord a popular platform for people looking to connect with others who share similar interests, hobbies, and passions.

6.2 Customer Segments

Discord’s customer segments include online gamers, hobbyists, content creators, Gen Z, and tech-savvy individuals. Online gamers are one of the platform’s primary users, making up the majority of Discord’s user base.

Discord is also popular among hobbyists and those seeking to connect with others who share similar passions, such as book clubs, writer groups, and music fan communities. In addition, Discord has found a niche market with content creators who use the platform to connect with followers and collaborate with other creators.

Discord’s versatility in catering to different customer segments has helped to drive its growth and put it on the map as a communication platform of choice for many.


Discord’s journey from a pilot service to a platform with a market share valued in billions, reflects not just the potential of a great idea, but also the skillful execution and the ability to adapt to the market. Discord’s unique value proposition and versatility in catering to different customer segments have enabled the platform to maintain its strong foothold in the chat application space.

Moreover, Discord’s ability to generate revenue from a variety of revenue streams beyond just subscription fees demonstrates an understanding of the value of diversification for sustained growth. The company’s formidable financial performance, growing valuation, and expanding user base signal its ongoing dominance in the chat application industry.

As Discord continues to innovate, it will be interesting to see how it evolves to meet the evolving needs of its customer segments. 7.

Discord’s Key Features and Infrastructure

7.1 Servers and Channels

Discord’s key feature lies in its server-based architecture, where users can create or join servers dedicated to specific communities, interests, or events. Within these servers, users can create and access various channels that cater to different communication needs.

Discord offers text channels, where users can engage in real-time text-based conversations, as well as voice channels, which allow for voice communication. Additionally, Discord introduced video channels, enabling users to engage in video calls and conferences.

The server and channel structure provides a hierarchical organization that allows for effective communication and collaboration within communities. Whether it’s a small group chat or a large community server, Discord’s server and channel system allows users to customize their communication experience to suit their needs.

7.2 Integration and Compatibility

Discord’s infrastructure extends beyond traditional PC usage, as it offers compatibility with various platforms and devices. The platform has dedicated apps for Android, iOS, and PC, ensuring that users can access Discord from their preferred devices.

Furthermore, Discord is compatible with gaming platforms such as Xbox and PlayStation, making it an ideal communication tool for gamers. This compatibility and integration across different platforms and devices allow users to stay connected and engaged with their communities, regardless of their location or the devices they use.

Discord’s commitment to accessibility has contributed to its widespread adoption and popularity among diverse user groups. 8.

Discord’s SWOT Analysis

8.1 Strengths

One of Discord’s key strengths lies in the support it has received from investors, with major players like Warner Media, Tencent, and Twitch backing the company. This support has not only provided financial stability but has also bolstered Discord’s credibility and market position.

Another strength of Discord is its large market share. With over 300 million registered members and 150 million active users, Discord has established itself as a dominant player in the chat application industry.

The platform’s versatility and comprehensive feature set have contributed to its high user engagement and loyalty. Additionally, Discord is known for its innovative platform, constantly introducing new features and updates to enhance the user experience.

This continuous innovation keeps users engaged and interested in the platform while attracting new users. 8.2 Weaknesses

One area of weakness for Discord lies in its privacy policies.

While Discord has made efforts to address privacy concerns, some users still express concerns about the platform’s data handling practices. Discord’s close association with gaming also raises concerns among non-gamers, who may perceive the platform as primarily catering to the gaming community.

Another weakness is related to Discord’s VoIP services. While Discord is well-regarded for its voice chat functionality, some users have experienced issues with latency, audio quality, and reliability.

Though Discord has made improvements in these areas, there is still room for further optimization. 8.3 Opportunities

One notable opportunity for Discord lies in expanding into other markets beyond gaming.

While gaming remains a core segment for Discord, the platform’s versatility and wide range of features can attract users from various industries and interests. Discord can capitalize on this opportunity by actively marketing itself as a communication tool for diverse communities.

Furthermore, Discord has the opportunity to enhance its security and privacy measures even further. As privacy concerns continue to grow, Discord can establish itself as a leader in secure and private communication platforms, attracting users who prioritize privacy in their communication networks.

Discord can also seize the opportunity to upgrade and introduce new features to meet evolving user needs. By listening to user feedback and integrating new functionalities, Discord can continue to differentiate itself in the market and retain a competitive edge.

8.4 Threats

One of the major threats for Discord is competition from other chat applications. Platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Telegram offer similar features and are actively vying for market share, especially in the corporate and professional communication spaces.

Discord needs to stay vigilant and continue to innovate to maintain its position and stand out among competitors. Another threat lies in privacy and security policies.

As users become more aware and concerned about their digital privacy, any compromise in Discord’s privacy policies or data breaches could significantly impact user trust and loyalty. Discord needs to continuously invest in security measures and transparent policies to mitigate this threat.

Lastly, the threat of online fraud and harassment exists on any communication platform, including Discord. Discord must actively and rigorously enforce its community guidelines and implement systems to combat harassment and fraudulent activities.

Failure to address these issues could lead to negative user experiences and a decline in user engagement. In conclusion, Discord’s key features and infrastructure, including its server and channel system, as well as its compatibility across various platforms, contribute to its popularity and widespread adoption.

Conducting a SWOT analysis reveals Discord’s strengths in investor support, market share, and innovation, as well as weaknesses in privacy policies and VoIP services. Expanding into new markets, improving security and privacy measures, and seizing opportunities for feature upgrades are important for Discord’s growth.

However, the company must also remain vigilant against competition, privacy threats, and online harassment to maintain its position as a leading chat application. In conclusion, Discord’s history, growth, funding, expansion, business model, financial performance, key features, and value proposition all highlight its prominent position in the chat application industry.

Discord’s versatile platform and innovative approach have attracted a large and diverse user base, solidifying its market share and valuation. However, Discord must address privacy concerns, optimize its VoIP services, and stay vigilant against competition, threats to privacy and security, and online harassment.

As Discord continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of online communication, it has the opportunity to further enhance its position and create genuine connections among users around the world.

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