Vinit Bharara made it big when Amazon bought his company Quidsi — the e-commerce startup responsible for Diapers.com, Soap.com, Wag.com, and other sites — for $US540 million in 2010. He built the company with Jet.com founder, Marc Lore.
Now Bharara is trying to launch a digital media empire.
Bharara started Some Spider last fall, which is the parent company to an eclectic blog called Cafe.com. In the past six months, Some Spider has closed Cafe but launched a new blog called The Mid, which targets people in “the messy middle of life.” Some Spider acquired Scary Mummy, a parenting blog that averages 10 million unique visitors per month.
Bharara plans to keep expanding that blog network with more demographic-focused publications, each of which will aim to establish really “personal, emotional connections with their readers.”
Today marks another important step forward. Some Spider just snagged New York Times digital lead Paul Smurl as its new COO and president. Smurl is leaving the New York Times after nearly 12 years because he believes in Some Spider’s relationship-focused mission.
“I’m really excited about the approach and the model that we’re crafting as we go,” he says. “It’s very different from the way a lot of media companies are approaching media and the business model today.”
Smurl and Bharara first met thanks to an intro from from Vinit’s brother, US attorney Preet Bharara. They shared dinner around the holidays, and then that dinner let to several more excited discussions
“I finally convinced him to jump ship on the New York Times,” Bharara says with a laugh.
Some Spider is currently in the process of moving Scary Mummy’s content into its custom content management system, called Monsoon. Besides the home-grown CMS, which will allow the company to quickly launch or acquire new blogs, Bharara and his team have also built a custom analytics system called Abacus. Because Some Spider’s blogs will all be more focused on the quality of their relationships with readers instead of simply page views, Abacus will put a big focus on the number of returning users, their time spent on each site, and the amount of sharing and referrals per reader. One of the things that made Scary Mummy so attractive, Bharara says, was how engaged its audience is.
Bharara has been funding Some Spider himself since launch with about $US5 million of his Quidsi fortune, but the startup plans to fundraise early this summer.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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