For the Thrill of It
It was a very busy morning for Ben Lerer, the 30-year-old Lerer Ventures scion and CEO of men’s lifestyle brand Thrillist. The company announced yesterday that it had closed a $13 million series A, the first outside financing since Thrillist raised a $2 million seed round way back in 2005. Growing Thrillist from a Daily Candy-like daily newsletter to a men’s lifestyle empire with little venture capital in just seven years is no small feat.
“That’s the cool thing for me,” Mr. Lerer told Betabeat by phone this morning, his voice still colored with the excitement of closing a solid round. “That we were able to legit boostrap a business to 200+ people and $60 million in revenue without the money. It really gives me confidence that we have the right habits and the right discipline so that now that we have this money, we’re going to know how to spend it the right way rather than spastically run around spending it.”
A bit of late-breaking news for your Thursday: All Things D reports that men’s lifestyle brand Thrillist has raised a $13 million Series A, led by Oak Investment Partners.
Joining the funding fun were family outfit Lerer Ventures and Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group. Pilot was the first firm to put money into Thrillist, helping founder Ben Lerer get off the ground back in 2005 with $2 million in seed money. This is the first outside capital they’ve raised since.
In fiction, the experts tell you to write what you know. In founding a company, you’re told to fix the problems you find in your own life. So it makes sense, then that Andy Russell–a leading investor behind email newsletters like Daily Candy, Thrillist, Tasting Table, and PureWow–has decided the world needed InsideHook, another free lifestyle newsletter, but this one targeted to his own demographic: “The discerning, urban, established man who lives a fast-paced and rewarding life,” as the company describes it.
In a visit to Betabeat’s offices last month, Mr. Russell, who helped launch roughly one email property a year for the past eight years as a partner at the powerhouse investment firm Pilot Group, said he recognized the need to cater to the 35-to-55 set by looking at his own life. On date night, he and his wife would end up at the same sushi place around the corner. “My wife looks at me and goes ‘Again? Where’s the guy who climbed Kilimanjaro on our honeymoon?’ Or I used to own a restaurant in the West Village called Moomba. ‘Where’s the guy who started the hottest nightclub/restaurant in New York?’”
Dan Primack broke the news today that another seed stage fund is poised to enter into the New York’s teeming tech scene. The fund, which has reportedly raised around $23 million, is called Trigger Media Group. It will be run by Andy Russell, a co-founding partner of Bob Pittman’s VC and PE firm Pilot Group LLC.
Mr. Pittman, of course is the former president of AOL and the founder of MTV. According to Crunchbase, Pilot Group likes “to buy undervalued companies, fix them, and resell them.” Pilot Group is an investor in Zynga, betaworks, and our friends over at Silicon Alley Insider.
Trigger will focus on the digital media space, which means it should be wading through plenty of potential local investments.