Amidst claims that traditional media outlets are floundering, a host of up-and-coming outlets that use technology, a strong voice and new mediums to tell stories are coming into their own. One of these is Blavity, a black millennial-focused media outlet that has seen massive growth since its founding in 2014.
Blavity’s editorial and content staff are based in Los Angeles, but the company has roots in Atlanta — co-founder and CTO Jeff Nelson lives here, and their women’s conference, Summit21, is held here.
Now, on the heels of their first formal funding round of $6.5 million, which was led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) with participation from Macro Ventures, Baron Davis, Comcast Ventures and Plexo Capital, the leadership team plans to double down on their commitment to being what Nelson says is a company “at the intersection of media and tech.”
“Google, Facebook, Twitter, there are all these conversations about how they’re actually media companies,” Nelson says. “We’re certainly going to be looking at products that show the interaction of content and tech, as driven by black millennials.”
And to complement that mission, they’re also doubling down on Atlanta. The funding will be used primarily for hiring a much larger engineering and data science team, which will be based in Blavity’s new second office in the southern city. Nelson says they’ve already moved their current technical team of six to Atlanta and are now on a hiring spree to fill another 10 jobs in the next 6-12 months.
Over the next year and a half, that team will triple to 30, predicts Nelson.
“Atlanta makes sense for us,” Nelson explains. “It’s for all the reasons anyone says: it’s the media space here, the proximity to East Coast, the growing hub for tech. We want to be a part of that and contribute to Atlanta as an emerging scene.”
“It’s also the intellectual capital here,” shares Nelson, pointing to the density of higher education institutions in the city. What does the Blavity team look for in new employees? “Initiative, entrepreneurship and ingenuity,” says Nelson.
Prior to the Series A, the startup had raised $1.8 million, but largely grew organically, says Nelson. Blavity reaches 7 million individuals a month and has acquired two additional media properties: travel site Travel Noire and entertainment-focused Shadow & Act.
“The Blavity culture is all about hustle,” says Nelson, who also founded and continues to serve as CEO of an Atlanta-based data analysis startup called Cinchapi. “Hustle has been part of our DNA since the beginning.”