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VC money powers them.

Not for most (or at least many)

Airbnb, Xiaomi and Palantir are probably profitable now. That's 3 out of the first 5, and I suspect that is broardly correct for most if the list.

Palantir takes regular enormous infusions of VC money. My guess is that they are in expansion mode still, but aren't profitable (or not profitable enough to bankroll their own expansion).

A lot of these companies are taking VC money to pay out the founders and/or early employees.

Atlassian is a good example[1]. Early employees sold their shares directly to the VC fund - none of the money went to the company.

That's pretty common - in the couple of years before Facebook float VCs were buying their way in anyway they could.

[1] http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/business-it/atlassian-valued-at...

That's unrelated to to their business models.

Until you reach the point where you don't have to close a new round each year to keep meeting payroll you don't have a business model.

I'm not quite sure what your point is. Or I know what your point is but I'm not sure how it's related to discussion of ad-based vs paid because it's true for both, ad-based as well as paid.

I think the OP's point is that when the VC money is gone, they might have to go towards adverts in some way if they struggle to monetise otherwise, so it's too early to say that they are not ad-supported

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