PolicyMic scores $10 mln

Digital media firm PolicyMic has closed $10 million in Series A funding. Netscape founder Jim Clark and WebMD led the round with participation from previous backers Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lerer Ventures, Advancit Capital, Red Swan Ventures and the Knight Foundation.


NEW YORK — PolicyMic announced today a $10 million Series A funding round led by Jim Clark, the founder of Netscape, Silicon Graphics, and Healtheon (now WebMD) with participation from existing investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lerer Ventures, Advancit Capital, Red Swan Ventures, and the Knight Foundation.
In 2013, PolicyMic grew by 550% and now reaches more than 15 million unique monthly readers. Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that PolicyMic offers “stories that intelligently cover serious issues important to young people.” From global affairs and politics to arts and science, PolicyMic keeps 20-somethings informed about what’s happening and why it matters.
“We’re working to build the most important news and media company for our generation,” said PolicyMic’s CEO and co-founder, Chris Altchek. “In addition to creating original stories that our generation wants to read, we’re continuing to develop proprietary technology to better engage our digitally-native audience on social media and mobile devices. This funding enables us to continue hiring outstanding talent for our editorial, engineering, and sales teams.”
The company previously raised $5 million, including a $3 million seed round in October 2013, and was not planning on raising again until 2015. But after a 100% increase in audience since October, the board made a decision to accelerate growth this year.
“PolicyMic has the potential to become one of the world’s top media companies,” said Jim Clark, the lead investor. “They are quickly consolidating a hard-to-reach demographic with unique and interesting stories about important topics. Chris and Jake remind me of my younger self and I’m excited to partner with them on this challenge.”
“Our rapid audience growth has been fueled by insightful, engaging coverage of the stories that matter to young people,” said Jake Horowitz, PolicyMic’s Editor-in-Chief and co-founder. “With legacy media outlets focused an older audience, PolicyMic’s unique editorial sensibility and approach to storytelling is resonating widely with our generation.”
After a number of recent additions to the team, there are now 26 full-time employees at PolicyMic:
Paolo Fragomeni joined as Chief Technology Officer to lead the company’s technology efforts. Fragomeni left MIT in 2010 to co-found Nodejitsu, a platform as a service for Node.js, as CTO. At the same time, he created and co-founded The Node Firm. In 2014, he founded Here Is How, a platform for technical writing, which has been subsumed by PolicyMic.
James Allen joined as Vice President of Communications and Strategy to guide the company’s brand positioning. He was most recently Director of Communications to Senator Cory Booker during his final year as mayor of Newark. Allen served as campaign manager during Congressman John Carney’s successful re-election in 2012 and before that was one of his senior advisors on Capitol Hill.
Adam Jaffe joined as Director of Analytics. He uses data to optimize PolicyMic’s editorial and distribution strategy. Jaffe is a former investment banking analyst, screenwriter, and graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Meredith Bennett-Smith joined as editor of the Identities section. She is a former associate editor at the Huffington Post. PolicyMic has also added staff writers to their New York offices and new paid contributors who live in countries around the world.
Leading politicians including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Senator Rand Paul have contributed original writing to PolicyMic. In December, PolicyMic and the White House worked together on an “Open Mic” initiative to crowdsource proposals that would improve the health care system and inform young people about the Affordable Care Act.
About PolicyMic
PolicyMic is a digital media company covering the stories that matter to our generation. With more than 15 million monthly readers, PolicyMic offers news, analysis, and perspective to keep young people informed about what’s happening and why it matters. From global affairs and politics to arts and music to technology and science, PolicyMic is the premier destination for insightful, engaging stories that are written by and for our generation.

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