Newsletter startup theSkimm has raised $8 million in Series B funding from what looks to be a very strategic investor: 21st Century Fox, which was joined by earlier backers RRE Ventures, Homebrew and Greycroft Partners.
If you’re wondering what a newsletter might have in common with a global TV and film giant, the answer centers on theSkimm’s ambitions.
To date, the four-year-old, New York-based outfit has been steadily building up its readership of largely female millennials. In fact, at our TechCrunch Disrupt event in New York last month, theSkimm co-founders (and former NBC producers) Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin told the audience that the newsletter now has 3.5 million subscribers worldwide.
Those readers are getting theSkimm’s content — akin to a CliffsNotes of important news events — at no cost. To generate revenue, the 20-person company says it makes money through product endorsements and native advertising, both of which it says it’s transparent about.
It also hopes to make money through a new calendar service that asks subscribers to pay $2.99 a month to be kept abreast of happenings from social events to new feature releases on Netflix. (Launched recently, Weisberg and Zakin aren’t talking yet about how many people have signed up for a subscription.)
Yet the company’s bigger ambition (in its owns words) is to create a “multi-platform audience company” that somehow uses video, as well as print, to share news and product endorsements. It’s already naming the unit it will build Skimm Studios . Thus the tie-up with 21st Century Fox.
As for more specific details, apparently we’ll have to wait. Asked about a potential video component at Disrupt, Zakin told reporter Katie Roof, “It’d be a shame if we didn’t use our video background.” In a post published earlier today, the company didn’t add much more, saying only that it intends to reach its audience via “more platforms.”
According to CrunchBase, theSkimm has now raised roughly $18 million altogether.