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In 201 , launched a website, , in ’s living room. They worked from for the next six months tirelessly, building a media site they hoped could become the next BuzzFeed.
moved to New York City and now their site has has 0 million monthly readers, according to the site’s internal analytics. It just raised a $ million convertible note at a $ 0 million valuation cap, sources with knowledge of the deal tell .
The founders confirmed the fundraise to but declined to comment on the valuation. Investors include and Ventures, A-list celebrities (who sources says are getting offered a lower valuation of ~ $ 0 million), *, Gary Vaynerchuck, of Ventures, and co-founder .
We hear rappers and are being asked to invest and that they’re already part of the network.
ended the year with $ million in revenue, up from $0 eleven months prior, a source says, adding that the founders hope to eclipse BuzzFeed’s 2 million monthly uniques by .
Despite its soft launch in , the site has actually been around for a bit more than a year. According to ’s , who did a deep dive into the viral site, was originally a service that launched in 201 but failed to gain traction. It pivoted to become an editorial shop in early 201 .
met when he was the founder of , a startup that went through Y Combinator’s accelerator program in Silicon Valley and was acquired by .
The software engineers teamed up with and plotted ways to combine their technical backgrounds with ’s extensive social reach. The result was , a viral, socially-concious media company that uses celebrity influencers to boost stories farther across the Internet. is CEO, is president, and is chairman of the board.
“We built technology to source content from around the web before it goes viral,” says. “It can predict the performance of different pieces of content and we use it to reach as many people as possible. We combined that with the social reach of and we were able to reach of millions of people in first few months.”
wouldn’t say exactly how their works, but it involves crawling lots of sites, such as news publications, YouTube and Tumblr, and determining which new posts are starting to gain traction. They hired a machine learning specialist to help analyze the data.
Links are then kicked to ’s -person newsroom, which curates the content and pings relevant celebrity partners to blast the stories to their social media followings. say celebrities see more engagement in their social streams when they share content.
The long-term vision is to partner with all sorts of influencers across many verticals, like for a section.
* is a investor