Ozy Media Raises $10 Million, Expands Staff, Video

Online news start-up Ozy Media has raised $10 million in series C funding, which will go to doubling its staff, as well as expanding its events business and video production.

In 2014, Ozy Media was valued at an estimated $120 million, after Axel Springer invested $20 million to increase its stake to 16%, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Earlier this month, the company hired three new employees to produce videos for OZY.com and develop digital video and TV projects for OZY Media.

Ozy CEO and co-founder Carlos Watson told WSJ the additional funding will allow the company to double its staff from 50 to 100.

Ozy brands itself as a next-generation news start-up that covers politics, culture, sports, food and technology.



“Media is only average right now; it lacks energy, creativity and substance,” Watson stated. “Now more than ever before, people are looking for a news source outside the echo chamber, players in the space that are doing something different.”

For example, this month Ozy Media launched “States of the Nation,” a year-long initiative in which reporters will visit all 50 states and cities around the world to cover the impact of President Trump's administration on communities.

This year, Ozy Media launched its events business and a TV show.

In July, the company hosted Ozy Fusion Fest in Central Park, with guests such as will.i.am, Malcolm Gladwell and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Its first TV show, “The Contenders - 16 for ‘16,” was a political documentary series that aired on PBS and BBC, leading up to the 2016 president election.

These two new businesses resulted in five times revenue growth for Ozy Media, compared to the year before, which helped it balance out a 41% Web traffic decline to Ozy.com. The site had 6.4 million unique U.S. visitors in December; it had just under 11 million a year earlier, Variety reports.

The 3-year-old company also expanded its editorial product and email newsletters this year to more than 2 million subscribers worldwide. Ozy Media claims to reach an audience of 25 million monthly unique users, across multiple platforms.

The investment was led by GSV Capital and brings the company’s total amount raised to $35 million. Previous funders include Axel Springer, Emerson Collective and Silicon Valley angel investors.

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