Science, tech and geek culture site Inverse raises $6M

Inverse, a new-ish digital media startup founded by Bleacher Report’s Dave Nemetz, is announcing that it has raised $6 million in Series A funding.

The Inverse site launched in August 2015 and covers a mix of science, technology and entertainment news — as I write this, the front page features stories on astrobiology, future cities and The Simpsons. Nemetz told me the goal is to cover the interests of millennial men, but not in an obnoxious way.

“We think of ourselves as a male-oriented site in that our audience is heavily male, but we don’t outwardly cater to men on the site — if you look at our about page, it’s not like it’s the site for dudes,” he said. “We’re kind of proving that you don’t have to write really bro-y, dumbed down content, you don’t have to just write about sports to reach guys.”

Many of these topics are covered elsewhere (including on TechCrunch), but Nemetz said he’s not trying to imitate “the real kind of geeky, nerdy fanboy sites.” As he explained, “I have nothing against those either, but we’re not trying to be a site for nerds, but [instead a site] where all types of guys go to.”

Nemetz is best-known as one of the founders of Bleacher Report, the sports news site acquired by Time Warner’s Turner Sports division for $170 million. (One of his co-founders, Bryan Goldberg, went on to start female-focused news site Bustle.) At Inverse, he said he’s trying to “borrow from the best of both worlds,” with a strong editorial team that’s supported by tech tools and analytics.

The site says its audience grew to 7 million unique visitors in August — more than 80 percent of the audience is male, and 75 percent are between 18 and 34 years old.

The Series A funding was led by Crosslink Capital, with participation from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Social Starts, Bialla Venture Partners and Vast Ventures. Inverse has now raised nearly $8 million in total funding.

Nemetz acknowledged that funding for digital media startups seems to have “cooled down,” but he said that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“We see an opportunity to build a really big business in this space, with new distribution models and the way that more money is continuing to shift from traditional advertising into digital advertising,” he said. “But in order to be successful, you have to be good at a lot of things — in editorial, you need a really strong voice, you need to be good at building a brand, at building an audience, you need to be good at advertising. There’s only so many teams and companies out there that can do that.”

By the way, I should confess that I have a soft spot for Inverse, since I was quoted in one of their articles talking about one of my favorite topics — the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick.