Former Hollywood Reporter editorial director Matthew Belloni has joined a venture capital-backed digital media startup as a founding partner.
The still-unnamed digital media startup is co-founded by former Vanity Fair editor Jon Kelly, Vox Media and Luminary veteran Joe Purzycki, The Athletic alum Max Tcheya, and Conde Nast veteran Liz Gough, and counts TPG and 40 North Media among its investors. It has raised $7 million so far in Series A financing.
The startup plans to focus its editorial coverage on the nexus of power and influence in a few key sectors: Finance, technology, politics, and entertainment. Belloni will help launch its coverage of entertainment, starting with an invite-only email newsletter. The New York Times previously reported that the startup was in talks with former Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery about a role covering politics.
The company is currently focused on building out a subscription-based business, built around newsletters, premium content, podcasts, and events, though it also said to be pursuing some premium sponsorships.
The startup is one of a handful of new media efforts looking to create different models to support journalism. The company is taking some elements from traditional media companies, and mixing in some of the strategies developed by startups like The Athletic and Substack, particularly its focus on subscriptions and, per the Times, sharing in equity and revenue.
“Just like Hollywood, media is undergoing a dramatic transformation for the digital future,” says Belloni in a statement to THR. “It’s super-exciting to bring my years of experience to building an innovative new company while continuing to cover an industry I care about so passionately.”
Belloni left THR in May 2020 after 14 years with the publication, including four as its top editor.