Digital media companies that have received venture capital over the past few years have no doubt been new media entities or existing companies incorporating new technologies into their old strategies. So what does the range consist of and what can we learn?  We have collated data from the past 6 months, revealing the following 57 companies receiving venture capital (that have disclosed or announced the news) in the summary table below.

 Startups receiving venture capital reflect recent trends

From the list podcast, networks, women’s only media, high quality niche subscriptions, and local journalism/ad tech companies and outliers including OTT/Video and alternative social media expansion received funding. This reflects a plethora of events that have come into mainstream in the past year – The #MeToo Movement, Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook breach, reports of the NYTimes reaching 3 million paid subscribers, Google’s end to it’s “First Click” policy,  The Netflix Effect in having more publishers invest in TV/Streaming,  the rebuild phase of local journalism, and growth in Asia, all of which creates a vacuum of opportunity for startups to take entrepreneurial means in solving problems, whilst being profitable in the process.

Some of the recent investment news from these companies

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Cheddar raises $22 million to forge distribution partnerships with cable companies and expanding its streaming internationally
  • The Outline and Skimm have raised $8 million and $12 million respectively in order to bolster their sales and advertising teams
  •  Berkleyside have reportedly raised $800,000 directly from its readers, in a bid to sustain it’s community model driven journalism
  • Adlightning raises $2 million to further improve its Ad Quality tool
  • Freeda Media raises $10 million to expand it’s social-media first for millennial women model to other countries.

Are there underlying patterns for investing in media companies?

Trying not to over generalize, but you can see that mainstream adoption of a platform/system/technology, a situational event that can introduce a new concept or movement, and long term trend requiring innovation have stemmed the following investments to take place. Consider each factor mentioned and plot it against the product lifecycle for a given market, which is fundamental in determining the optimal times to invest.


Image result for product life cycle

Source: Marketing Insider

What can be concluded in the digital media and publishing  space is:

  • Subscriptions have reached the end of the growth phase encouraging competitors like Bloomberg, Adweek and others to adopt this monetization system – but towards the shakeout.
  • Movements and needs of new media for verticals and under serving audiences usually happen right after the take-off of their growth phase from a viral event
  • Local journalism consolidation can be attainable at a time when the organization is in the decline phase through acquisitions or beginning it’s phase of re invigoration through a introduction of a new system,technology, approach or movement from high net worth individuals.

Each phase has it’s challenge and determination for the startup to become sustainable media business. We wish all of them good luck and the upmost success.


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