Vox Media Gains Traction with SB Nation

Vox Media, fueled by $30 million in VC funding, is building an engine for  next-generation content.  The ingredients are a clear vertical focus,  low cost digital-only content, highly social.  In Vox’s case, no paywall and fully ad-supported. The numbers:

  • 800 paid bloggers, who I presume are fueled by their team passion more then money.
  • 9.4 million unique visitors, half which return 20x each month, growing at 20% per year.  A fraction of what espn.com gets, but the trend is positive.
  • Direct sales force of 25 people, focused on premium CPM sales to big national brands.
  • Proprietary CMS called Chorus:  supports robust commenting and forums, and links sites with databases on teams and players.
  • Revenues of $25 million, reportedly at breakeven now.
  • Valuation of $140 million, based on most recent round.  Accel Partners is lead VC, with additional funding from Comcast Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Allen & Company, Providence Equity Partners, and Ashton Kutcher.  CEO is Jim Bankoff, headquartered in Washington, D.C.
The valuation is hefty at over 5x revenue, but sports sites with passionate fans are highly valued, plus the engine can expand to other verticals.

Data sources:  Forbes and TheNext Web.