Gearing up for some strategic M&A, Thrillist Media Group just secured its first capital infusion since its launch in 2005.
This latest round, totaling $13
million, was led by Oak Investment Partners, along with Lerer Ventures -- which is run by Thrillist founder and CEO Ben Lerer and his father Ken Lerer.
According to the younger Lerer, the new investment gives Thrillist more “financial flexibility” as it eyes potential deals -- although there are no immediate plans to spend the money.
“We’re in discussions [with acquisition targets], but we’re always in discussions,” Lerer said Friday. “We wanted to be in a position where we could move fast if the right opportunity opens up without jeopardizing the health of the business.”
Regarding acquisitions, Lerer said he is looking primarily at content businesses -- particularly in the areas of travel, consumer electronics and automotive.
Bigger picture -- Thrillist is on pace to turn a profit on $60 million in revenue, this year -- up from $33 million in 2011.
According to Lerer, the majority of Thrillist’s revenue now comes from its ecommerce operations -- “between 60% and 70%.” However, that doesn’t mean the company is now an ecommerce business.
“Ecommerce generates more revenue than media and advertising, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be our main focus,” Lerer said.
Thrillist acquired discount designer ecommerce site Jackthreads in 2010, which has since grown from 150,000 to more than 2 million members, he says.
Also participating in this latest round -- which reportedly values Thrillist at $120 million to $150 million -- is Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group, which pumped around $2 million into the start-up back in 2005.
Along with its investment, Fred Harman from Oak Investment partners will be joining Thrillist Media Group’s board of directors.
Notably, Oak Investment Partners invested in The Huffington Post, which (along with Arianna Huffington) was co-founded by Ken Lerer -- and later sold to AOL for $315 million.