Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser doesn't claim to know exactly why his startup has grown so fast so early.
Less than three year after launching, the site attracts roughly 30 million unique visitors per month and reached nearly 90 million people around the world during November of 2013.
While some founders attribute their success to what Pariser calls "the cult of the CEO," meaning the success of a plan implemented from the top down, that's not the story Pariser tells about how Upworthy found a large audience of readers in the fiercely competitive landscape of news websites.
"There is a storyline that's always like, 'We had this brilliant idea, and through great determination and our own strength of will, we made it happen,'" Pariser said in a recent roundtable Inc. hosted. "The reality of that success often is about tapping into something much broader than your ideas or your vision."
For Upworthy, launching a news website in the middle of what is clearly a transitional period for online media has played a big role in the company's success so far, according to Pariser.
"When the thing that you're excited about meets history in a good way, then sometimes you're able to get a lot of traction, so I think we were in the right place at the right time with a mission that hopefully resonates with a bunch of folks," he said. "I think it's as much the external stuff that's made it happen."
To hear more about how Upworthy gained traction quickly during it's first two years as a company, watch the video below.