Marissa Mayer built her career at big companies reliant on digital advertising, initially at Google and later as CEO of Yahoo. But in her first startup, Sunshine, Mayer has opted to go in the opposite direction. Sunshine plans to charge consumers for subscriptions to generate revenue for its products, which will start with a contact management app and evolve to include appointment scheduling, event hosting and other apps, she told attendees of The Information’s Future of Startups Conference.
“We think that consumers are getting more and more open to paying for services and recognizing if you actually add value to them, paying a few dollars a month on a subscription model makes a lot of sense,” she said in the interview. Her thinking reflects a shift in attitudes more broadly in Silicon Valley away from a reliance on advertising, although Mayer acknowledged how challenging it is for companies like Facebook to change course now.