Matt Saincome is aware of that in comparison with lots of the startup acquisitions that we write about on TechCrunch, promoting a web site for a little bit over $1 million (largely money, with a little bit inventory) isn’t an enormous deal.
“But on this planet of punk comedy media? Whoo boy!” he stated.
Saincome is completely happy to poke enjoyable at himself — he’s the co-founder and CEO of a satirical punk information web site, in spite of everything — however he additionally sounded genuinely happy with what he’s constructed with The Hard Times. He by no means raised outdoors funding, and whereas there have been acquisition presents previously, he was at all times afraid that they could threaten the positioning’s voice.
“I had at all times been the monetary backstop,” Saincome instructed me. Still, at a sure level, “That began to turn into irresponsible.”
So he’s completely happy that there might be a little bit of a monetary windfall (to not point out well being care and advantages) for himself, his co-founder and editor in chief Bill Conway and their editorial workers, plus a pay bump for freelancers. He additionally recommended that the acquisition will permit The Hard Times to speculate extra significantly in its editorial technique, for instance by constructing out its podcast community.
“If you want The Hard Times, it’s simply going to be The Hard Times on steroids,” he stated. “It’s very a lot the identical route, however higher and secured.”
The buying firm is Project M Group, a digital media and e-commerce firm based in 2016 that has additionally acquired Revolver Magazine and Inked Magazine.
Here’s how founder and CEO Enrique Abeyta laid out the Project M mannequin: “We exit and purchase present media properties with an viewers, and we reinvigorate or relaunch or put some capital behind them to develop these audiences. Then we tie that right into a vertically built-in e-commerce platform.”
After all, it’s no secret that many on-line publishers have struggled to make the digital promoting mannequin work. And given Revolver’s deal with heavy metallic and rock, and Inked’s deal with tattoos, there are some pure commerce alternatives — for instance, for those who’re studying an article about Metallica, you may also need to purchase a Metallica T-shirt.
At the identical time, Abeyta emphasised the significance of authenticity within the publications that Project M acquires, and he stated that post-acquisition, they don’t turn into any extra company.
“I’m a tattooed, mohawked man working this firm out of my home in Cave Creek, Arizona,” he stated. “We’re the least company factor on Planet Earth … Our entire vibe after we companion with these entrepreneurs is, we need to work with the entrepreneur and the model.”
So the whole Hard Times group, together with Saincome, will stay concerned. At the identical time, the positioning’s outdated guardian firm will proceed to personal and function the associated gaming and expertise website Hard Drive.
Saincome stated he’ll additionally proceed working OutVoice, a separate startup constructing freelancer cost instruments. In reality, one of many outcomes of the deal is that every one of Project M’s publications might be utilizing OutVoice.
“My function at Hard Times goes to be the visionary, brand-builder kind of man,” he stated. That ought to liberate a number of his time and vitality from worrying about each day enterprise issues, and he promised, “I’m going to take that vitality and pump it again proper into OutVoice .”
OutVoice formally launches its freelancer cost instruments