TheSkimm

Introduction 

As theSkimm heads into 2019, it is continuing to expand its content offerings with the launch of a daily 10-minute Podcast. Seven years into its newsletter business geared toward young women, the site has built a following of 7 million subscribers. Big-name investors like 21st Century Fox have put big money behind the brand and a sale may be in the near future. As theSkimm explored possible buyers in 2018, it also began experimenting with alternative forms of content. From career advice podcasts to Olympic video partnerships with Katie Couric, resources were deployed to digital products other than the original newsletter. As its audience grows, what are some avenues for theSkimm to keep pace with its customer needs? How could a potential sale test the entrepreneurial vision of its founders — roommates Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin? 

Read more about theSkimm’s history in the timeline below. 

Timeline 

  TheSkimm founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin (Retrieved from Business Insider) 

2012 

Roommates Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, who both formerly worked at NBC, launch theSkimm – a newsletter start-up designed to tell subscribers everything they need to know in the morning. The Daily Skimm, the company’s daily email newsletter is short, simple and targeted at urban women from 22-34. Zakin describes the newsletter as a “confidence booster” for readers to initiate conversations about current events.  

2013 

TheSkimm announces $1 million in funding from the venture capital fund Homebrew. 

2014 

Oprah Winfrey tweets about “becoming a Skimm’er,” driving attention to the platform. The company secures $6.25 million Series A funding from RRE Ventures.  

2015 

The newsletter has over 1.5 million subscribers and 15 employees, up from a staff of four the year before. The founders say they made money through product endorsements and native advertising. 

2016 

Skimm Your Candidate promotional material (Retrieved from theSkimm)

By November 2016, the newsletter has more than four million subscribers, due in part to its “Skimm Your Candidate” series which garners national attention. TheSkimm launches “Skimm Ahead” for iOS, which highlights key events by directly inserting them into a subscriber’s calendar. Fox invests $8 million into theSkimm for “Skimm Studios,” which it says will offer an inside look into what female millennials think. The New York Times invests $500,000 into the start-up. TheSkimm introduces No Excuses, a non-partisan platform mobilizing Americans to vote.  

2017 

The company claims it employed more than 45 employees and Recode reports that it had an estimated value of $55 million. TheSkimm claims it has more than five million subscribers.  

In the fall, theSkimm launches a video series on Facebook Watch and audio content on its paid app. In the second half of 2017, affiliate advertising jumps by 400% and, in December, theSkimm is reportedly holding conversations about a possible sale.   

theSkimm claims more than six million subscribers. It raises more than $16 million from investors including RRE Ventures and 21st Century Fox. 

2018 

In February, theSkimm starts a partnership with ClearBrain, a tool using AI to target users. It also launches a new podcast called “Skimm’d From the Couch,” which focuses on no-nonsense career advice, as well as a partnership with Katie Couric on obscure Olympic history. 

2019 

In 2019, theSkimm reaches seven million subscribers. 

In March, theSkimm launches a new daily Podcast, SkimmThis, in partnership with Cadence13. 

Want to learn more about theSkimm and how it invested in its key assets to keep its customer base growing? Read about this and more by referring to pgs. 163-176 in The Strategic Digital Media Entrepreneur. 

Sources for TheSkimm Timeline: 

http://www.niemanlab.org/2017/11/with-video-and-audio-the-skimm-pushes-further-into-the-daily-routines-of-its-6-million-readers/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/news-digest-theskimm-explores-possible-sale-investment-after-receiving-interest-1512488171

https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/07/clearbrain-launch/

https://www.glamour.com/story/theskimm-is-launching-a-new-podcast

http://people.com/sports/winter-olympics-2018-katie-couric-fun-facts/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/elanagross/2019/02/25/theskimm-is-launching-a-daily-news-podcast/#38648fd56b17