Insight Venture Partners and Georgian Lead Round, New York Times Company and Others Join, As OpenWeb Aims to Create a Democratized Alternative to Social Media That Empowers Publishers, Brands, Users, and Advertisers
OpenWeb, the premium audience relationship platform, today announced a $150M Series E funding round, led by New York-based global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners and Georgian Partners. Technology investor Omer Cygler, Harel, and Entrée Capital also participated in this round. Additionally, the round was joined by the company’s first strategic investors, including The New York Times Company, Dentsu and Samsung Next, as well as individual investor Professor Scott Galloway, who has joined the company’s Board of Directors. The round, which valued the company at over $1B, propels OpenWeb to unicorn status.
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OpenWeb’s technology is utilized by more than one thousand publishers, including Hearst, Yahoo!, Penske Media Corporation, and News Corp., to gain independence from traditional social media by fueling millions of high-quality conversations across thousands of communities with more than one hundred million monthly users. The OpenWeb team will leverage this investment to create a safer, democratized alternative to existing social media platforms by empowering publishers and brands across verticals with tools to build first-party data relationships with their audiences.
“This Series E marks a big step forward in our mission to improve online conversations,” said Nadav Shoval, co-founder and CEO of OpenWeb. “The future of a sustainable open web depends on the ability to facilitate safe experiences, while empowering destinations to build first-party data relationships with their audiences. We raised this round of investment to double down on our mission, and to bring those safer experiences to new verticals and new markets.”
OpenWeb’s push to empower publishers and brands across the web is timely. With the coming depreciation of third-party cookies, publishers and brands are in search of ways to build lasting, first-party data relationships with audiences while ensuring brand and user safety. By scaling their operations, OpenWeb is positioning itself to provide robust solutions to these problems.
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“Especially as our lives have increasingly moved online over the past year and a half, online conversation has become more important than ever,” said Matthew Lloyd-Thomas, Director of Corporate Development from The New York Times Company. “As a leader in global news, we are proud to make this investment. OpenWeb’s mission of combating toxicity in online conversations and empowering publishers to develop direct relationships with their audiences deeply resonates with us.”
OpenWeb plans to expand its global presence with new offices in Canada, the Asia-Pacific China (APAC) region, and the Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) region. The team is also exploring strategic acquisitions to enhance its product offerings.
“Publishers have been impacted by big tech and will need to leverage data to win. OpenWeb provides this solution by utilizing AI and machine learning to incentivize healthy dialogue, decrease toxicity, and create thriving, engaged communities,” said Jeff Horing, Managing Director at Insight Partners. “We are proud to have led the last three financings of the company and continue to believe in the company’s exciting future. We look forward to OpenWeb’s future success.”
“We are looking forward to supporting OpenWeb on its path of impressive growth,” said Margaret Wu, Lead Investor at Georgian. “The company’s mission is impactful: creating trusted spaces for discussion online is something we believe needs greater focus across the web. That is what OpenWeb is doing for its publishing partners, and we will help accelerate its machine learning roadmap to drive continued expansion.”
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