theSkimm Raises $1.1 Million to Help Busy Professionals Find NewsMashable Nov 04, 2013 Back to press
Just more than a year ago, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg quit their comfortable jobs as news producers at NBC and settled into a new office: their apartment.
The two roommates decided to take their journalism experience and use it to curate an easily digestible daily newsletter for busy professionals called theSkimm — a risky move, but a decision inspired by their friends.
"We saw that our friends — primarily our girlfriends — would come to us and say they were too busy to find out what happened in the world today," Zakin told Mashable in a recent interview. "We really served as information concierge for them."
Each day, the newsletter breaks down a select few big stories into bullet points that emphasize the key takeaways. TheSkimm also frames certain news items as playful talking points to help readers feel and sound more informed. The newsletter quickly topped 100,000 readers and has grown "exponentially" in recent months, while achieving an email open rate of about 45%.
On Monday, the startup announced that it has raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by Homebrew with contributions from RRE Ventures and Lady Gaga's manager Troy Carter. The funds are in addition to an angel round that the startup raised last year.
With the new funding, Zakin and Weisberg plan to start hiring engineers, designers and more journalists to scale up the organization over the next year. The plan isn't just to build up a newsletter, but to build a "lifestyle brand."
"TheSkimm isn't just about reading an email, it's about living a Skimm life," the founders wrote in a blog post announcing the funding. "Our goal is to redefine information consumption to fit into a streamlined modern routine and turn the news experience into an actual lifestyle brand."
Some initially criticized the startup for trying to simplify news for women, but the founders note that the newsletter has a "huge male following" as well.
"We do not believe news is gender specific and know we can't be everything to everyone," Weisberg said. Our marketing strategy will continue to hone in on our target audience — leading millennial women."