All it takes is a knack for viral content, 2.15 million followers on your marquee Twitter account, and a core team of (incredibly) young social media entrepreneurs. Then you too could be raising $2 million from investors including Upfront Ventures, 500 Startups and Daher Capital — but then, you’d be All Day.
If Buzzfeed is the poster child media company of the Facebook generation, then perhaps All Day (which culls its content from a slew of wildly popular Twitter feeds like History In Pictures and EarthPics) might be its Twitter corollary.
Despite all of the whingeing, hand-wringing, and worrying about the death of media businesses, venture capitalists seem more willing than ever to put money behind new brands. Including the behemoth $500 million financing for Vice earlier this year, new media properties pitching online content have raised at least $645 million.
In December alone, investors poured $70 million into Vox Media, Bustle, and Woven. News that bodes well for the three founders of All Day.
Launched by the 31-year-old Eric Damier, and his co-founders Xavier Di Petta and Kyle Cameron, ages 18 and 20, and Jai Bugarin the 33-year-old former strategy officer at Maker Studios, All Day was on track to make over $1 million per month from the monetization of its clicks, according to this piece in Forbes.
Their accounts are now feeding into All Day as the main landing page, and the goal, according to Damier, is to expand to 60 to 70 million followers by 2015 for its Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts to 300 million to 400 million unique followers across all social media platforms.
“[Damier’s] got one of the best sensibilities for building a social media brand since [Buzzfeed and Huffington Post’s] Jonah Peretti,” says Mark Suster, a partner with Upfront Ventures, who’s backed the media company Maker Studios, which sold to Disney for nearly $1 billion.
Behind the traffic, All Day has another business cooking, which is a tool for advertisers to bid on ad placements throughout its accounts.
For Damier, the new funding round is just another step in what’s been a long road to the executive seat. The serial entrepreneur, who’d spent a year-and-a-half in high school and college living out of his car, first met Di Petta and Cameron through a mutual contact who had been impressed with the work all three were doing on social engagement for YouTube channels in 2008 and 2009.
Success on YouTube led to a gig with Machinima, and Damier and his co-founders moved from YouTube to Twitter and other nascent social media platforms.
“Initially the idea was, ‘Hey, let’s grow our audience on Facebook and Twitter to increase the audience for our YouTube channels,'” Damier said. “But we started getting approached by brands and agencies. That was the first lightbulb that went off that we could make money off of this stuff. Websites were saying they’d be willing to pay to promote some of their articles on our feed.”
Damier’s path to running a media business was a bit circuitous and by no means assured, beginning when he dropped out of Glendale Community College and took a job as a life insurance agent for Citigroup. From there he went into real estate, before starting up an unsuccessful gaming technology company. The gaming startup led to YouTube and it was through the work with YouTube that Damier connected with his young co-founders.
“The way that we see it, with Buzzfeed, Vox, and Woven the whole SEO game has changed,” Damier says. “The access we have through these social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, means we’re doing big numbers. The new generation of media companies is engaging millennials in the social space, and that is different and we’ve sort of figured that out.”