TheSkimm, a digital media company known for its witty, daily newsletter, raised $12 million in Series C funding from mostly female investors including TV producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder) and supermodel-actress Tyra Banks, reports Variety. The total raised by the privately-held, New York-based company to date is $29 million, says TechCrunch. TheSkimm will use the money to grow its free and premium offerings and to expand the company’s No Excuses political-engagement campaign.
Founded in 2012, theSkimm started with a weekday newsletter targeted at millennial subscribers on the hottest news topics of the day. The company has since expanded, adding a subscription-based app for iPhone that integrates with subscribers’ calendars. The app, which costs $2.99 per month, has about 7 million subscribers. theSkimm has also added a podcast and videos on YouTube and Facebook Watch through Skimm Studios.
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According to TechCrunch, other investors include former TV journalist Willow Bay, Jesse Draper of Halogen Ventures, Linnea Roberts of GingerBread Capital, Hope Taitz of ELY Capital, Goldman Sachs Group, Michael Karsch of Juice Press, Google Ventures, Sara Blakely of Spanx, 21st Century Fox, RRE Ventures and Homebrew Ventures.
‘As a female led and founded company, we are excited to have the opportunity to bring such an impressive and dynamic group of female investors into theSkimm fold,’ said co-founders and co-CEOs Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, a statement. ‘With a majority of our audience being female, it’s vital to the success of our business to involve women at every single level, and that includes our investors. With their added perspective and resources, we look forward to this next chapter in our company’s history.’
Supermodel, TV personality, producer and businesswoman Tyra Banks is an eager investor in theSkimm.
‘From the onset, theSkimm’s smart, speedy, and most importantly fierce approach to current events and world news got my attention. theSkimm created a media platform that works seamlessly with on-the-go lifestyles,’ Banks said. ‘As a fervent supporter of trailblazing female-led businesses, I am thrilled to be a part of the next phase of theSkimm’s development.’
In addition to its premium subscription, theSkimm’s business model also includes revenue from native advertising, affiliate partnerships and content licensing and distribution.
‘For us, this is about expanding our footprint, and building on theSkimm’s proposition to our community,’ said Zakin.
I have been a subscriber of theSkimm since the company’s early days. While not a millennial, I appreciate the wit and style of the former journalists, but even more than that, the quick summary of the previous day’s events and longer explanations of tough topics is incredibly useful. Like others with busy lives, I don’t always have time to scour social media – or my favorite news sites – to find out what happened the day before on the national or international stages. Instead, I make theSkimm the first thing I read every morning, so I can stay up-to-date on current events.
Why has theSkimm been so successful? I think there are a few factors at play here. First, the founders have a distinct style and a targeted audience, setting them apart from other news providers. They have never strayed from that signature style. They’ve created a unique product that people truly want to read.
Second, the founders created Skimm’bassadors, informal brand ambassadors (more than 30,000 of them!) who share theSkimm with each other. They spread the news about theSkimm by sharing a unique URL on their social media pages, via email, etc., and they get credit for signing people up. Skimm’bassadors get swag, invitations to a private Skimm’bassador page and other perks. These two factors keep theSkimm going strong. We can’t wait to see what they do next.