Meet Craig 'Craigslist' Newmark, the self-professed 'nerd' who built a $1 billion online listing empire and donated $20 million to a media company that's now facing a massive editorial exodus

Wikimedia CommonsCraig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.

Craig Newmark hasn’t worked at Craigslist for nearly twenty years.

Instead, the billionaire founder – who started his site in 1995 – dedicates his time to philanthropy. Despite criticism for his site’s negative impact on print newspapers, Newmark is a dedicated supporter of journalism, donating millions to publications such as ProPublica and the Poynter Institute.

He also donated $US20 million to a forthcoming tech publication, The Markup, which made headlines on Tuesday for its staff exodus following the departure of its editor-in-chief, Julia Angwin. The nonprofit publication was set to investigate tech companies and was supposed to officially launch in July.

Read more: A yet-to-launch tech news site backed by Craigslist’s founder is facing a staff exodus after its renowned editor-in-chief was forced out

After a long career with IBM, Newmark started Craigslist – originally an email newsletter called “San Francisco Events” – in Silicon Valley. In a 2018 interview with Business Insider’s Jim Edwards, Newmark talked about his decision to not take the VC route and also referred to himself as an “old-fashioned” nerd.

Keep reading for a look at Craig Newmark’s life and career, from his start at IBM to his recent philanthropy focus.

Founder of online ads site Craigslist, Craig Newmark has, according to Forbes, a net worth of $US1.6 billion. He stepped back from the company in 2000, and now focuses on philanthropy.

Stephanie Canciello, Unali Artists.

Source: Forbes,Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Newmark was born in Morristown, New Jersey in 1952 …

Dougtone | FlickrMorristown, New Jersey.

Source: Business Insider, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Gizmodo

… and later attended school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Newmark originally planned on working as a quantum physicist but studied computer systems instead.

Flickr/OZinOHCase Western Reserve University.

Source: Business Insider

After graduation, Newmark joined IBM, where he would work for the next 18 years.

Courtesy of Craig Newmark via LinkedIn

Source: Bloomberg

The job took Newmark to Boca Raton and Detroit to work with General Motors before he finally landed in San Francisco in 1993. At his new job with Charles Schwab, Newmark was introduced to the internet during the early stages of many Silicon Valley empires.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Gizmodo, Business Insider

New to the city, Newmark relied on recommendations from colleagues and friends. In 1995, he decided to start an email newsletter. Originally called “San Francisco Events,” the newsletter was commonly referred to as “Craig’s List.” People quickly advised Newmark to change the name to Craigslist to help establish a brand.

Source: Business Insider

Craigslist grew quickly, offering spaces for classified ads online. Today, the company employs around 40 workers. According to Forbes, the site receives over 50 billion page views per month and earns $US690 million in revenue.

Source: Business Insider, Forbes

Over the years, Newmark has been criticised for his site’s impact on the newspaper business, as classified ads served as a huge revenue source for print news prior to Craigslist’s online disruption.

Paul Sancya/Getty Images

Source: Politico, New York Times

In a 2018 interview with Business Insider, Newmark said he decided, against the recommendations of many advisors, “to monetise as little as possible” and did not take the venture capitalist route so many Silicon Valley companies choose.

Fionna Agomuoh/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

As Newmark told Business Insider’s Jim Edwards, “VC’s and bankers at that point told me I should do the usual Silicon Valley thing and make some billions. But no one really needs billions of dollars, except to give away.”

Source: Business Insider

In 2018, Newmark donated $US20 million to the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. Following his donation, the dean renamed the school the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

Google MapsCUNY’s journalism building, now renamed the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

Source: CUNY

Additionally, Newmark has donated to other journalism institutions — including $US1 million each to the Poynter Institute, ProPublica, and Mother Jones — along with Girls Who Code and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Newmark also holds advisory board positions for numerous other nonprofit organisations and has donated to Democratic Party presidential candidates.

Wikimedia Commons

Source: Poynter, Poynter, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Variety

Newmark married Eileen Whipley in December of 2012. The couple currently splits their time between San Francisco and their Greenwich Village duplex in New York City.

Source: Business Insider, Gizmodo

Newmark refers to himself as an “old-school” nerd. He also told Business Insider’s Jim Edwards he doesn’t see himself as famous, despite founding a multimillion-dollar, eponymous company.

Getty Images/Justin Sullivan

Source: Business Insider

Newmark also backs The Markup, a forthcoming tech publication. On Tuesday, the site made headlines after five out of seven editorial staffers quit following the departure of their editor-in-chief, Julia Angwin. The non-profit had plans to launch in July of this year.

Wikimedia Commons

Source: Business Insider

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