Rafat Ali, a former media industry journalist and blogger who founded and then sold paidContent for millions of dollars, is back in start-up mode -- and his latest venture could well cause a rift in the travel industry. It’s called Skift, and it’s a new digital publishing platform that combines content and data aimed at travel industry insiders as well as active business travelers.
Ali’s partner and the venture’s head of content is Jason Clampet, a veteran travel industry journalist who helped develop Frommers.com, and previously managed sites for Citysearch.com.
The team were expected to announce a six-figure round of funding from a group of angel investors today, which might not normally rate a story in Online Media Daily -- but given Ali’s track record and the fact that he took paidContent from an out-of-his-bedroom blog to a multiple blog publishing company (ContentNext), which was sold to the U.K.’s Guardian Group for a reported $30 million, it might just be something to keep an eye on. (Earlier this year, ContentNext was flipped once again, when the Guardian Group sold it to tech blog publisher GigaOM.)
In its boilerplate on Skift.com, the venture describes itself as a “travel intelligence media company,” and a spokeswoman said it will focus on content as well as data and analytics aimed at the $2 trillion travel industry, and presumably the travel industry trade and consumer publications that have historically provided information about it.
As for its name, Skift says it is derived from Nordic languages and that it means “‘shift’ or ‘change’ or ‘transformation’.”