When thinking about media companies, not everyone wants to get their information from news sources. As people flock to digital media sources there is one company that is gaining ground. Render Media, a company covering debate, food, politics, entertainment and more is growing and watch out because it is sure to be a household name.
Today the team at Render Media speaks with LA TechWatch about their growing company and their (actually) balanced approach.
Tell us about the product or service.
Render Media utilizes socially engaging content to inform, empower and give voice to more than 28 million educated and affluent adults worldwide.
Render Media is a digital publishing company that owns four rapidly growing content destinations: Opposing Views (news, analysis and debate), America News (politics), Food Please (food, drink and culture) and Watch This (entertainment and lifestyle).
With 28 million unique monthly visitors, 14 million Facebook fans, 3 million Vine followers and 70% of all traffic from mobile, Render Media has accelerated at an unprecedented rate since launching in 2011.
Render Media was co-founded by Eytan Elbaz, also cofounder at Applied Semantics and Scopely, and Vic Belonogoff.
How is it different?
In a digital age when media companies are increasingly selective in their coverage to cater to specific audiences, we provide an unfiltered look at politics, societal issues, international affairs and culture which allows the public to make informed decisions on what matters most.
We are also at the forefront of digital content distribution. We are agile enough to react quickly to trends in media; creative enough to make compelling, shareable content; and established enough in terms of our strategy and revenue.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are entering the news media space, which in the past has been dominated by major players like CNN and FOX. Today, the space also consists of digital outlets like Buzzfeed, Vice Media and us. We are also going after specific verticals like food, gaming and tech.
What is the business model?
Programmatic advertising and branded content like articles, social media posts and video.
What’s the future of media economics as RTB and other ad tech technologies are driving down CPMs?
Companies that utilize advertising that they cannot get off of ad networks / exchanges will have an advantage. This includes branded content, especially across different social platforms where engagement is much higher. This also includes high impact and rich media ads where interactivity and viewability is much higher than standard IAB units.
Tell us a little about your background?
Eytan, current chairman at Render Media, is also Cofounder and former Chief Strategy Officer of Scopely, a mobile game producer generating over $100 million in revenue annually. Eytan also served as Google’s Head of Domain Channel, where he grew the business from $13 million to $600 million annually over four and a half years.
Prior to working for Google, Eytan was Vice President and a founding member of Applied Semantics (formerly Oingo), which was later acquired by Google. At Oingo, Eytan conceived the ideas for applying the company’s meaning-based technology toward domain name selection and monetization, and toward contextual targeting, a product which launched as Oingo AdSense in 2000.
CEO Vic Belonogoff’s path to digital media has been unconventional. He started in the life sciences industry as a product manager working on gene discovery R&D. He spent nearly a decade at firms such as Applied Biosystems and Celera Genomics, where he used his data analysis skills to shepherd new products from early stage to commercialization.
Vic left biotech behind in 2008 to co-found Deep Dive Media, an online publishing venture tasked with building a portfolio of consumer websites with information on a range of healthcare issues. As CEO, he used his medical and product management knowledge to grow the company over the next two years, and ultimately oversaw its acquisition of Opposing Views.
Under Vic’s leadership, Render Media has rapidly accelerated, with traffic growing 933% and revenue growing 1,157% in 2 years. Vic was named CEO of Render Media (formerly Opposing Views) in 2011.
What inspired the business?
Eytan and Vic originally had a rock band together at UCLA. At one point they realized that it might be easier to build up a startup than becoming rock stars and so they forged on ahead into digital media years later.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
Both myself and Vic went to UCLA and so we have been living in Los Angeles for over 20 years. We are surrounded some of the best universities in the country, a wealth of creative talent, and the best quality of life. Los Angeles is emerging as an epicenter of content distributed through technology. We are surrounding ourselves with the smartest and most passionate people we can find. Together, we are building one of the fastest growing media companies in the world.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
By we would like to get to half a billion content views per month (page views and video views).
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
There is a game called Marry / F*ck / Kill where you decide which of three people you would do what with. If there was a game called Business / Dinner-Drinks / Thailand, here’s how I would do it.
I would have a business meeting with Brian Roberts of Comcast . He impresses me as a leader who built the most valuable media company in the world, and even then, tries to keep running at even faster speeds. I would love to know where he finds his inspiration, and what keeps him up at night, and pitch him on Render Media.
I would have dinner and drinks with Rupert Murdoch. Mr. Murdoch is the OG media mogul & cult of personality. He ran his company until late into his 70’s, and never shied away from saying whatever he wanted to say. Rupert Murdoch – influential, divisive, wildly successful.
I would go to Thailand with Shane Smith. The guy re-invented the news. I grew up watching the news from well dressed, clean cut, men in suits who told me what was happening in the world from behind a big, expensive desk. Shane Smith is doing all that from the front lines, attitude, beard, tattoos, and all.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
More non-tech hackathons for non-tech people. There are plenty of people who want to participate in the new economy, but don’t have a tech background to build it on. Luckily, there are so many tools and resources that even non-tech folks can use new technology to build new companies. We should be encouraging (mandating?) high school and college students to attend Hackatons / No-tech-athons…
Where is the best place in LA to watch the sunset?
Venice Beach — someone around you always cheers when it happens! The drum circle is going on in the background.