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chas edwards

Digg's Money Guy Joins High Gear Media Board

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High Gear Media, a publishing company focused on automotive digital media, is having a great year. The Palo Alto, CA-based vertical content startup raised a second round of funding last Summer to the tune of $5.5 million and has been growing like a weed.

Today, the company’s announcing that Chas Edwards is joining its board of directors. Edwards is the former Chief Revenue Officer of Federated Media who in May 2009 left the digital advertising network to become the money guy at Digg.

High Gear Media is riding the wave of built-for-the-web content production platforms, publishing a mix of original, licensed, aggregated and user-contributed content. You could compare this approach to the Demand Media model, the route AOL is taking towards massive low-cost content production and Seeking Alpha‘s strategy in the stock market vertical. It’s clearly turning into something of a trend.

High Gear Media publishes automotive content through about 75 websites targeting key buyer and vehicle segments and currently reaches about 2.2 million unique monthly visitors in total. Including its own editorial staff, the media startup at the moment counts over 200 content contributors. They make it really easy for people to become one, too: all you need is to sign up using Facebook Connect and you’re off.

High Gear is announcing a partnership with a major media company shortly that will lift its profile and audience even more, although the company remains tight-lipped about the name of the new partner (Yahoo? AOL?).

Curious to see if Edwards can help them sustain their growth and monetize the traffic they’re generating. He’ll be sharing a board seat with High Gear Chairman and Founder Hesky Kutcher, CEO Matt Heist, Rob Solomon, (former CEO of Sidestep.com) and investors Andrew Braccia of Accel Partners and James Slavet of Greylock Partners.

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