SOURCE: Odyssey

Odyssey

April 28, 2016 09:00 ET

Odyssey Raises $25 Million to Scale Social Content Platform for Millennials Globally

Company Welcomes First Institutional Investor & Key Hires as It Surpasses 30M Monthly Uniques

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - April 28, 2016) - Odyssey, the social content platform for millennials, announced today that it has raised $25 million in its first institutional investment round. The round was co-led by Columbus Nova managing partner Jason Epstein and serial entrepreneur Michael Lazerow, both of whom have also joined Odyssey's board of directors.

Odyssey is one of the fastest growing online and mobile platforms of its size for millennials, surpassing more than 30 million monthly unique visitors. The company has already expanded its audience by more than 10 million new users in 2016.

The company's reach is now one of the largest of all social property focused on millennials, and is more targeted than industry peers, including Vice and Buzzfeed. Hard-to-reach 18-24-year-olds are 244% more likely to visit Odyssey than the average internet site (comScore MMX MP Key Measures report, February 2016).

To date, Odyssey has raised $32M. The new capital will be used to further scale the business.

"I haven't been this excited about a new company since jumping into the Facebook ecosystem at Buddy Media in 2007," said Michael Lazerow, who sold Buddy Media to Salesforce.com for $800 million in 2012. "Odyssey has created an entirely new grassroots content creation model that combines the best of online publishing and social networking."

"Odyssey is a special company that has grown tremendously by executing on its mission to provide the best technology tools and platform for people to create, distribute and discover content that matters to them and their communities. We are incredibly excited to help the company as it continues to deliver on its vision," said Jason Epstein, managing partner at Columbus Nova.

Lazerow and Epstein are the latest to join Odyssey's list of investors. Other prominent social media and marketing industry investors include former ExactTarget/SalesForce executives Scott Dorsey, Traci Dolan and Tim Kopp. The recent hire of The Huffington Post's Lauri Baker as senior vice president of sales and marketing is helping Odyssey build meaningful brand partnerships.

"We are thrilled to add more partners with a strong history of scaling industry-changing organizations as we work to position Odyssey as the social platform with the mission of democratizing content creation and discovery," said Evan Burns, CEO of Odyssey. "Mike and Columbus Nova really understand the model and believe in Odyssey's potential to transform the industry. Unlike new media companies who ride waves and buy traffic, Odyssey's proof is in the incredible organic growth that has built an engaged audience across the globe."

Fast Facts:

  • Creator network of more than 10,000 millennials across 900+ local U.S. communities
  • Users are now spending more than 245M minutes reading Odyssey content every month
  • Grew from 20M monthly users in Nov. 2015 to 30M monthly users in Feb. 2016
  • All readership comes from people recommending content to their friends
  • 80% of Odyssey's audience falls within the millennial demographic
  • Creators choose to write about what matters most to them, and approach Odyssey as a social platform to write content that influences rich engagement. Topics span all interests including local news, politics, fashion & beauty, relationships, sports, ideas & perspectives, tech, and more
  • Proprietary technology and crowdsourcing model creates a "sphere of conversation" around topics, meaning there are dozens -- if not hundreds -- of articles surrounding a topic from many different viewpoints
  • 100+ full-time employees, and adding more than 15-20 new people every month across offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Indianapolis; as Odyssey works to redefine the compensation model for its talented creators, incentive is based on the reach and social engagement the content influences

About Odyssey
Launched in June 2014, Odyssey is a social content platform that discovers and shares a chorus of millennial voices, amplified organically through social media. With more than 10,000 local content creators and an audience of 30+ million monthly unique visitors, Odyssey empowers millennials restless to be heard and audiences eager to listen, presenting a rich diversity of perspectives and views. For more information, visit http://www.theodysseyonline.com/.

About Michael Lazerow
Michael Lazerow is a serial entrepreneur who has founded several successful media companies. Most recently in 2007, Michael co-founded Buddy Media, Inc., a privately held company that offers some of the world's largest brands social media solutions. Michael served as chairman and CEO before the company was sold to Salesforce.com for $800M in June 2012.

About Columbus Nova
Founded in 2000, Columbus Nova ("CN") is a multi-strategy investment firm managing over $15 billion of assets through its own funds and affiliated portfolio companies. CN has a broad investment mandate which allows investments across all levels of the capital structure from senior secured debt to equity. CNC takes a value-oriented, long-term review to investing and seeks consistent returns with an emphasis on capital preservation. CN is headquartered in New York.

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