How a new media startup grew from 12 employees to 200 in a 18 months, and just landed $80 million to grow even more

Brew PRCulture Trip founder and CEO Kris Naudts.
  • Culture Trip is a fast-growing media site that just raised $US80 million in its Series B funding round from a Dutch venture firm.
  • The company’s CEO says that Culture Trip’s success lies in its team of freelancers and its flexible content formatting.

A year and a half ago, media startup Culture Trip had a small online following and 12 employees.

Now, the site rakes in close to 15 million monthly unique visitors, and its 200 in-house employees are based across three continents. In addition to the company’s full time staff, the site relies on 300 freelance contributors to write articles about the best food, sights, and shopping in their local neighbourhoods.

On Tuesday, the company announced an additional $US80 million in funding in its series B round led by Dutch venture firm PPF Group, which also led the company’s $US20 million series A in 2016. The money will help the site expand even more quickly.

Culture Trip CEO and founder Kris Naudts says his company’s fast-growing fleet of freelancers gives his company a competitive edge on other media outlets.

“We commission content out of house, so we have relatively low overhead,” Naudts said.”That’s the bit that set us apart — the quality at scale.”

Another factor, said Naudts, is the site’s pliable formatting: the site delivers up content in a mix of mediums, ranging from articles to videos to illustrations.

“We’re not a news or journalist outlet that suddenly goes visual,” said Naudts. Culture Trip’s coverage steers clear of political or current affairs, and instead offers up a mix of stories rooted in travel, food, art, and literature.

“There’s a huge appetite for this type of content,” said Naudts.

With its fresh cash infusion, Naudts said the company plans on expanding its reach (Naudts hinted at translating the site’s content into Spanish and French), and building out its base of freelancers worldwide.

And its investors are coming along for the ride.

“We see huge potential for [Culture Trip] to truly revolutionise the media and travel industries,” PPF Group’s chief officer for strategic projects Ladislav Chvatal said in a statement to Business Insider.

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