In late August of 2020, Ross Levinsohn was named CEO of Maven. During a difficult year, he was brought in to revitalize the media brands that Maven manages. Media companies have had to face the rising demand for continual free content with minimal ad interruption. Changes to how customers view and consume content has put a lot of media brands in tough places and put pressure on them to adapt with innovative solutions.
At its core, Maven is a technology platform company, providing scalable publishing and monetization services and infrastructure to more than 300 media brands. It is also a publisher, as an owner and or operator of brands including Sports Illustrated and The Street with Jim Cramer. It continues to invest in media and technology, and this fall announced a funding round of more than $24 million from new and existing investors. The company will use the newly sourced money to pay off some debts, expand partnerships, and cover other general corporate business costs.
Some of the new investors included Hunt Technology Ventures LP and TCS Capital Management. Invenire Capital Partners, 180 Degree Capital, and B. Riley Financial participated in this round as well.
“The investments in Maven are another validation of our business model, strategy, and leadership team,” said Maven CEO Ross Levinsohn. “We continue to expand our business, drive efficiencies, and margin and look for new opportunities in the market.”
Maven acquires TheStreet
In June 2019, the company announced the acquisition of TheStreet Inc. This investment was intended to boost Maven’s growing finance network, bringing with it 20 years of editorial tradition and a strong subscriber base. TheStreet was purchased to become the core of the finance vertical, which will expand to include: bonds, commodities, crypto, retirement, taxes, cybersecurity, short equities, and more. The valuation of this deal is expected to bring in over $50 million by Q3 of 2021. Maven offers a mobile-responsive web design and monetization strategy that benefits TheStreet.
“I’ve known Ross for many years, and couldn’t be more excited to expand our relationship and take this opportunity forward,” said Jim Cramer, founder of TheStreet.
When announcing the acquisition, TheStreet CEO and CFO at the time, Eric Lundberg said, “We’ve seen the power of the Maven platform and are pleased to bring new capabilities to our readers and our great content to Maven’s existing audience. Together, that kind of scale provides critical mass to propel our growth.”
TheStreet and Sports Illustrated join Maven’s other household brands like History, Yoga Journal, Maxim, and Ski Magazine.
Ross Levinsohn, who is still the CEO of Sports Illustrated, was named Maven CEO in August of 2020. As an expert in technology, media, and finance, he is a great fit to fulfill the vision of company stakeholders. Maven needed a CEO who had been around long enough to understand the industry and the rapidly occurring changes. Levinsohn has over 35 years of experience and has worked with a number of cutting-edge media brands.
“This is a unique opportunity to lead a technology and media company during a dynamic time of change in both spaces,” said Levinsohn. “I’m excited to partner with a powerful array of incredible brands, partners, and a world-class team of executives and employees.”
Before becoming CEO of Sports Illustrated in 2019, Ross Levinsohn worked for a number of major companies in the C-suite and started some of his own businesses. He was the president of Fox Interactive Media and interim CEO at Yahoo! before becoming CEO at Tribune Interactive in 2017, overseeing 100 publications that included the New York Daily, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, and Orlando Sentinel. He was a regular contributor on CNBC for finance and investment in 2016 and 2017. He was also a senior advisor at the Boston Consulting Group during the same time period.
One of his startups, Whisper Advisors, which he founded in 2014, helped provide financial advice and growth strategies for up-and-coming businesses of all sizes. Ross Levinsohn has always had an uncanny ability to recognize patterns in the business world and see the likely paths forward. It is this insight and his willingness to change with the times that has landed him the position of Maven CEO.
Maven’s future with Ross Levinsohn
Under the leadership of Ross Levinsohn, Maven is making big strides to build on its legacy and continue to grow its many publication brands. The company is rooted in a mission to empower publications that impact, inform, educate, and entertain.
Maven is run by a group of thought leaders who want to make a difference by enabling poignant and value-based publications. The company offers shared digital publishing, distribution, platform, and monetization under a single media brand.
For most companies, including Maven, this past year brought unusual challenges. Ross Levinsohn has taken the opportunity to grow the company and not sit back as things have gotten tough. With a struggling economy, many brands are facing their make-or-break moments. Under the guidance of Levinsohn, Maven has set itself up to be guided by very capable hands.
While the current times are challenging, companies have to prepare for the new post-COVID normal. Companies are currently forced to alter their businesses to meet the changed demands of homebound readers, lowered incomes, and reduced entertainment opportunities to cover. However, these shifts have also placed extra importance on media and quality coverage.
“We are rolling up our sleeves during this transformative time, with some of the best talent in our industry,” said Levinsohn in August.
Great companies must be forward thinking and recognize that their strategies don’t end with COVID. While trying to meet the demands of today’s audience, Maven has worked to consider its place after the pandemic interruption is over. Once the dust settles, no one is quite sure how the landscape of consumer expectations and behavior will look. Nothing is going to be quite the same, and it takes experienced leadership to spot the patterns and determine how to move in the right direction.
About Ross Levinsohn
Ross Levinsohn is the CEO of Maven and Sports Illustrated Media. A longtime leader in media and technology, Levinsohn’s prior roles as CEO at Yahoo! and Tribune Interactive have built his expertise to its current level, ensuring that he will bring experience and fresh ideas to the table. Ross has also served as the senior advisor at The Boston Consulting Group, founded Whisper Advisors, and held the role of CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media, giving him decades of significant and relevant experience.