scott dorsey
ExacTarget
The Odyssey
Tim Kopp

Former ExactTarget Execs Back Millennial-Focused Media Startup The Odyssey

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The Odyssey, the site that popularized the idea of “The Dad Bod,” is announcing that it has raised $3 million in seed funding.

A number of executives from ExactTarget (a marketing company acquired by Salesforce.com for $2.5 billion) participated in the round — investors include founder and former CEO Scott Dorsey, former CFO Traci Dolan and former CMO Tim Kopp.

“Investors and marketers are attracted to The Odyssey because its model offers direct access to millennials,” Kopp said in the funding release. “The platform creates high quality content experiences and offers brands the ability to engage, and interact in hyper-relevant ways.”

The company has now raised a total of $4.3 million and says it will use the money to expand from 80 local markets to more than 400.

Like ExactTarget, The Odyssey was started in Indianapolis. It was created by the Olympia Media Group, which has since taken on The Odyssey name for the whole company.

The site launched in June 2014 with a crowdsourced content model, where the editorial staff curates reader-submitted articles. The company says it now sees nearly 10 million unique visitors each month, with 93 percent of them arriving via social media. (I tried to check those numbers with comScore, but a comScore spokesperson told me it doesn’t measure The Odyssey’s traffic.)

Although initially focused on college readers, the company says it’s now reaching “the elder millennial audience” — 50 percent of its readers are over the age of 24.

It’s been, well, a loooooong time since my college-going days, so The Dad Bod post (written by Mackenzie Pearson, a sophomore at Clemson University) was the first thing I’ve read on the site. The post has been a big hit, with mentions in BuzzFeed, Slate and The Atlantic. Also, I’ve seen real people use it as a real phrase, which is kind of frightening.

Oh, and if you haven’t caught up on what a Dad Bod actually is, here’s how Pearson explained it:

The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, “I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.” It’s not an overweight guy, but it isn’t one with washboard abs, either.

And now you know.