My old boss at AOL and still friend Jim Bankoff’s pulled the covers off his stealth project, SB Nation (aka sports blog nation) and announced the funding he’s raised. This is an interesting play worth writing about for a number of reasons.
First of all, it shows Jim remembered what he learned from Brian Alvey, Jason Calcanis and Judith Meskill when he acquired Weblogs, Inc from AOL: networks make a big difference in SEO and ad revenue, a unified platform is essential for successful SEO, cohort management and stats tracking, and blog networks are a helluva good business if done right.
Second of all, it shows how well-liked Jim continues to be by the AOL old guard and how much he is one of them. Ted Leonsis is an investor, and ya know, Jim was Ted’s intern back in the early 90’s in NYC, when AOL had “The Greenhouse.” AOL may have been a tough place for lots of people to work, but a certain cadre stands together.
Third, it shows there is money in them thar Silicon Hills for media, and for people like Jim who have a track record. Jeff Weiner and Dan Rosensweig both get media and they ponied up bucks, according to Sport Business Journal, as did Accel Partners, Allen & Co.; Northgate Capital; and executives from Providence Equity Partners.
No one has reported on the funding dollars, but based on what other firms with less uniques and page views but with leaders with similar track records have raised in the past. I am going to guess it’s about $2MM, against a $10MM valuation.