Digital media startup Semafor has raised $19 million from investors including Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang to replace funding received from disgraced cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman Freed. .
According to Semaphore CEO and co-founder Justin Smith, about $10 million in funds from Bankman-Fried will be held in accounts separate from Semaphore’s other funds, and will be held in a separate account from the authorities. It will be returned to the creditor accordingly.
“It was very important to us to turn the page in this chapter, and more than that, it was necessary to us,” said Smith, former CEO of Bloomberg Media.
In addition to Yang, Semaphore’s new investors include Henry Kravis, co-founder of private equity giant KKR. Jamal Daniel, owner of Almonitor, a Middle East news website. Jorge Paulo Lehmann, co-founder of 3G Capital. Stand Together is a network of business leaders founded by entrepreneur Charles Koch. Gallup, a pollster, also invested.
Semaphore declined to disclose its valuation after its latest funding round.
Semaphore’s other founder, former BuzzFeed editor-in-chief and New York Times media columnist Ben Smith, said he and his partner had joined his brother in early 2022 when he was raising money for Semaphore. said he was introduced to Bankman-Fried by one of his advisers. . After editing an article written by Semaphore reporter Liz Hoffman about Bankman-Fried’s attempt to bail out troubled crypto exchange FTX, Smith said Bankman-Fried. He said he realized that Fried’s investment was causing problems for Semaphore. business and finance.
He said he and Justin Smith had not discussed investing with Bankman-Fried since FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in November.
Semaphore will generate more than $10 million in revenue from advertising and events in 2023, and advertising and events are contributing more to the company’s business than expected, Justin Smith said.
He said Semafor initially described its target audience as all college-educated English speakers around the world, but has narrowed it down to a group of influential opinion leaders. He said Semafor has 400,000 subscribers to its free newsletter covering media, finance, technology and politics. According to SimilarWeb, the company’s website attracted 1.5 million users in April.
“We started in an era when the smoldering corpse of scale media was littering all over the place,” said Justin Smith.