Semafor Raises $19 Million, Replacing Money From Sam Bankman-Fried

Digital media startup Semafor has raised $19 million from investors including Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang to replace funding received from disgraced cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman Freed. .

According to Semaphore CEO and co-founder Justin Smith, about $10 million in funds from Bankman-Fried will be placed in a separate account from Semaphore’s other funds, according to authorities’ instructions. will be returned to the obligee in accordance with

“It was very important to us, and even more necessary, to turn the page in this chapter,” said Smith, former CEO of Bloomberg Media.

In addition to Yang, Semaphore’s new investors include Henry Kravis, co-founder of private equity giant KKR. Jamal Daniel, owner of Almonitor, a Middle East news website. Jorge Paulo Lehmann, co-founder of 3G Capital. Stand Together is a network of business leaders founded by entrepreneur Charles Koch. Gallup, a pollster, is also an investor.

The investors have ties to both political parties, with Yang a regular donor to the Democratic Party and Koch a major donor to conservative causes.

Semaphore declined to disclose its valuation after its latest funding round.

Semaphore’s other founder, former BuzzFeed editor-in-chief and New York Times media columnist Ben Smith, said he and his partner had joined his brother in early 2022 when he was raising money for Semaphore. said he was introduced to Bankman-Fried by one of his advisers. . Semaphore’s investment is causing problems for Semaphore, after Smith edited an article about Bankman-Fried’s attempt to bail out his troubled crypto exchange FTX. Semaphore editor Liz Hoffman said she noticed. business and finance.

He said he and Justin Smith had not discussed investing with Bankman-Fried since FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

Semaphore will generate more than $10 million in revenue from advertising and events in 2023, and advertising and events are contributing more to the company’s business than expected, Justin Smith said.

He said Semafor initially described its target audience as all college-educated English speakers around the world, but has narrowed it down to a group of influential opinion leaders. He said Semafor has 400,000 subscribers to its free newsletter covering media, finance, technology and politics. According to SimilarWeb, the company’s website attracted 1.5 million users in April.

“We started in a time when the smoldering corpse of scale media was littering all over the place,” said Justin Smith.

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