Vox, The Company Behind SB Nation And The Verge, Has Feelers Out About Raising Even More Money

Vox Media, the company behind popular brands like sports site SB Nation and tech site The Verge, is putting out feelers about possibly raising another round of capital.
We’ve learned this from a source on the other end of one of those feelers.

Vox has already raised ~$40 million.

In an email, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff says he’s still “not sure” if he’ll raise more money.

The truth is, CEOs of venture-backed startups like Vox are always thinking about fundraising.

Other than setting a high level strategy and hiring the right people, that’s basically Bankoff’s (and every startup CEO’s) only job.

Right now, Bankoff’s options are:

  • Raise another round and grow Vox’s already massive staff even more, in an attempt to become a new age Time Inc (with a much healthier cost structure).
  • Stand pat and try to prove the model. This would probably mean slower hiring and maybe even some cost cutting. The advantage is that if Vox can get profitable, it can start funding its growth by itself. Also, Vox’s current investors wouldn’t have to dilute their stakes anymore. (Having raised ~$40 million, they probably feel diluted enough.)
  • Try to find a buyer. This is a lousy option. You want buyers to find you, not the other way around.

From the outside, it looks like this would be a fundraise done to seize an opportunity not out of necessity. Vox is on the cusp (the verge?) of being huge.

In the US alone, its sites combined for 16 million desktop-based uniques in August, according to ComScore.

For some context, ESPN totaled 38 million that month. Buzzfeed, another new media startup that’s worth $US200 million, had 20.8 million desktop uniques in August.

Vox’s tech site, The Verge, has 3.6 million desktop uniques in the US versus TechCrunch’s 5.2 million, according to ComsScore.

Last fall, we estimated Vox would generate roughly $US20-30 million in 2012. If you apply a 5X multiple on that revenue you arrive at a $US140 million valuation.

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