2019’s Largest Tech Media Funding Rounds and What it Spells for the Future of Mediaby Christian König September 20, 2019
It’s been a tumultuous year for the media industry. While companies like Vice Media and BuzzFeed have dismissed hundreds employees this year, tech media funding rounds from emerging markets have gained notable traction and raised millions of dollars to fuel growth and expansion.
In particular, niche media outlets focused on tech and startups stories are gaining traction along with attention from VCs. When I started the Fintech News Network in 2014, I foresaw the explosive growth within the fintech space and the need for a dedicated fintech focused outlet. This was around the same time that a large number of the best and brightest of Singaporean fintech were founded.
We started 2014/15 with only two news outlets, namely Fintech News Switzerland and Fintech News Singapore, growing alongside the industry we’ve since established 6 dedicated fintech media outlets — Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Middle East, Switzerland, and Baltics.
Fintech News Network
Against the backdrop of this continued growth in the fintech industry, we’re seeking to strengthen our existing brands and expand our content to several other markets.
As part of my preparation in seeking VC investment for the Fintech News Network, I’ve observed some key deals in the industry that could be indicative of where the tech media landscape is headed.
The following is a news roundup of some of the major tech media funding rounds and deals that have taken place so far this year.
The strong tech media funding rounds paints a picture that while many of the mainstream media are struggling, many tech-focused media are thriving, which makes me optimistic about our own journey here in Fintech News Network.
Nikkei acquires Deal Street Asia
Nikkei, the Japanese media firm that owns the FT, has acquired Singapore-based media startup Deal Street Asia.
Nikkei bought out existing investors including SPH Ventures, North Base Media, Alpha JWC, Ozi Amanat’s K2 VC, and SGAN, and made a separate capital investment into Deal Street Asia worth around US$3 million, according to a TechCrunch report.
The deal valued Deal Street Asia between US$5 million and US$10 million.
FT backs launch of new Europe-focused media site Sifted
The FT has invested in Sifted, a new media site for Europe’s innovators and entrepreneurs. Sifted aims to provide the most comprehensive coverage of Europe’s startup ecosystem.
Alongside the FT, Sifted is also backed by several British, French, German, Greek and Swedish angel investors.
Sifted was founded by the FT’s innovation editor John Thornhill. The editorial team is led by FT’s former Madrid bureau chief and Paris correspondent Michael Stothard.
FT buys The Next Web
Another investment made by the FT this year is its acquisition of The Next Web, an Amsterdam-based consumer publisher founded in 2006. The deal marked the FT’s first acquisition in continental Europe.
By acquiring a controlling stake in The Next Web, the FT has taken ownership of the company’s media website as well as the TFW Conference, an annual event that draws 17,500 attendees from 3,500 companies each year.
The FT said the deal will allow it to increase its presence in the European tech sector.
Crypto Exchange Binance Invests in Chinese Cryptocurrency Media Mars Finance
Cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance has invested in Chinese cryptocurrency media e Mars Finance for an undisclosed amount in a funding round valuing the company at around $200 million.
Hacker Noon raises US$1M
Hacker Noon, an independent tech blog, has raised US$1.06 million in its first round of funding. The equity crowdfunding campaign, ran on StartEngine, saw 1,199 investors participating.
Founded in 2016, Hacker Noon is one of the fastest growing tech publications with 7,000+ contributing writers, 200,000+ daily readers and 8,000,000+ monthly pageviews.
Der Brutkasten raises EUR 1.25M
Der Brutkasten, a startup and innovation platform in Austria, has raised EUR 1.25 million in a funding round. The round was led by Russmedia International with participation from Austrian fintech startup Bitpanda, Magenta Telekom CEO Andreas Bierwirth, as well as the founders of Runtastic and MySugr. Interestingly even the Austrian crypto exchange Bitpanda invested 3.99% into the page.
Founded in 2017, Der Brutkasten is an Austrian startup, entrepreneurship and innovation portal providing relevant news and services. The company said it will use the capital injection to fund growth and to scale.
TechNode closes pre-Series B funding round
TechNode, a Chinese online technology and entrepreneurship news platform, has closed a pre-Series B funding of “tens of millions of RMB” from investors that include co-working space operator UCommune and investment firm XCGT Holding Group, reports e27.
With the capital injection, TechNode said it will increase its global outreach with international technology innovation as its core strategy, and accelerate the expansion of its international influence through media, branding and data-sourcing.
Chinese blockchain, crypto media Shenzhen Deepchain raises funding
Shenzhen Deepchain, a Shenzhen-based media company focused on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, has raised “tens of millions of dollars” in a pre-Series A funding round, reports Asia Crypto Today.
Investors included venture capital firms Yunjiu Capital, Heyuan Capital, Ledger Capital and TFund, as well as eight other companies.
Chinese blockchain media platform Cailu raises US$10M
Cailu, a Chinese sharing-based and decentralized blockchain media platform, has raised US$10 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by GBCI Ventures, a Singapore-based smart city venture fund, reports Tech in Asia. Digital asset investment fund Orka Capital also participated in the round.
Cailu said it will use the capital for research and development on “blockchain immersion media,” as well as building up its CLC ecosystem, engineering, platform operations and partnership programs.
Cailu collects data on user behavior to provide the community with content. Users of the platform are rewarded with CLC points by mining and engaging with the platform and ecosystem.
TechStorm closes pre-Series A
TechStorm, a TV broadcasting channel covering tech and entrepreneurship, has raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A funding round, reports Tech in Asia. Venture capital firm Majuven as well as private and angel investors participated in the round.
Owned by Singapore-headquartered TechTV Network, TechStorm plans to make its services available across 20 countries in Asia Pacific by the end of 2019. It launched in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore this year, and introduced a new network of tech influencers in Asia.
Egypt’s RiseUp acquires MENAbytes
RiseUp, the company behind the RiseUp Summit, one of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)’s largest startup and entrepreneurship events, has acquired MENAbytes.
The acquisition also includes trackMENA, a new data platform by MENAbytes to help users track startups, VCs, investments and acquisition in MENA.
Founded in 2017, MENAbytes is a leading regional startup and tech publication with hundreds of thousands of monthly pageviews. MENAbytes has recently expanded its coverage to Pakistan and is looking to further expand it to Turkey and some other emerging markets.
EU-Startups plans EUR 114,000 equity crowdfunding campaign
EU-Startups, an online magazine with a focus on startups in Europe, is planning to raise EUR 114,000 in an equity crowdfunding campaign at a pre-money valuation of EUR 1.786 million.
EU-Startups claims over 170,000 visitors per months, and about 450,000 pageviews. Menlo Media, the company behind the online news site, also organizes the EU-Startups Summit, an annual event that brings together about 1,100 startup founders and investors from across the region.