Group Nine Media secures $50 million in new funding after shaking up its sales leadership to jumpstart its revenue

Ben lerer

  • Group Nine Media raised another $50 million in new funding from
    lead investor Discovery and Axel Springer.
  • The company said the new funds would be used to fuel its video
    and newly launched commerce division, and for potential
    acquisitions.
  • Recently, Group Nine shook up its sales leadership, replacing
    CRO Todd Anderman with a triumvirate of executives with agency and
    digital backgrounds who will try to jumpstart the company’s
    revenue.

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Group Nine Media raised another $50 million in new funding from
lead investor Discovery and Axel Springer, which is Business
Insider’s parent company. The additional funding values Group Nine
at $600 million, The Wall Street Journal
reported
.

Group Nine Media formed in 2016 by rolling up Thrillist, The
Dodo, NowThis, and Seeker in 2016, when Discovery put $100 million
into the company.

The company said the new funds would be used to fuel its video
and
newly launched commerce division
and for potential
acquisitions.

The company recently shook up its sales leadership, replacing
CRO Todd Anderman, who is leaving after more than six years at the
digital media company. 

Read more:
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With Anderman leaving, Group Nine is installing three execs to
head sales and marketing: Rachel Baumgarten, EVP of marketing;
Kavata Mbondo, EVP of business operations; and
Adam Shlachter, chief client officer
. They’ll operate as a
team, reporting to Christa Carone, Group Nine’s president, who
herself comes from an agency and marketing background.

The idea is that the trio’s experience working with big clients
on the agency side will help Group Nine get bigger budgets from
large ad spenders that span custom content, sponsorships, and the
like. Shlachter is a digital agency veteran while Baumgarten is a
vet of Viacom and Omnicom Media Group, for example.

“There’s never been a better opportunity to build and define
your brand on mobile, so we’re thrilled to have this talented
trifecta of complementary industry veterans positioned to
seamlessly help our clients drive their narrative and break through
the clutter,” Carone said in a statement.

Group Nine, headed by Ben Lerer, was formed on Lerer’s belief
that consolidation is coming to digital media and that Group Nine
could be a leader in digital video. It took a big step in that
direction earlier this year,
creating NowThis Originals
, a 25-person group to make original
video to sell to distribution platforms.

Digital media companies are trying to get to profitability

Many heavily-backed digital media companies are struggling to
get to profitability, and many media watchers assume that some of
these companies will merge to cut costs so they can keep operating.
Rumors have swirled that Group Nine was in serious
talks to merge

with Refinery29
, a women’s lifestyle media company. Group Nine
has been trying to diversify its revenue,
particularly into e-commerce

Group Nine hasn’t disclosed if it’s profitable. It’s valued at
$500 million, based on Discovery valuing its 42% stake of the
company at $212 million. Discovery has an option to buy the
remaining stake in the company but hasn’t exercised it.

Anderman became Group Nine CRO in January 2018 after starting in
sales roles at Thrillist. In a LinkedIn post, he didn’t indicate if
he had another job lined up:

After an amazing 6 1/2 years, I am moving on from Group Nine
Media/Thrillist.  It’s been an awesome ride, and I’m so proud of
everything that we built together…at first at Thrillist, and then
to the formation of Group Nine Media, which is now one of the
largest digital-first publishers in the world.  A big thank you to
everyone at Group Nine – it’s been an honor and a privilege to work
with such a talented and passionate team and it’s been a blast to
build this business together.

So what’s next for me?  I’m going to take a hot minute to enjoy
the summer with family and friends.  I just signed up for a new
gym membership that I actually plan on using more than once. 
Going to hang out with my college-bound son (as much as he allows
me to) before he heads off to school, and I’m going to recharge my
batteries before I jump into my next adventure!


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Source: FS – All Tech News
Group Nine Media secures million in new funding after shaking up its sales leadership to jumpstart its revenue