RALEIGH, N.C. – Offline Media, a startup focusing on delivering to millennials what it calls “hyperlocal” local news and “experiences,” has landed a major partner and investor in McClatchy.
McClatchy owns the big metro papers in Raleigh (the News & Observer) and Charlotte (Observer) where Offline has launched. McCaltchy also recently acquired The Herald Sun in Durham.
“There are some interesting developments in local media,” says Offline founder and CEO David Shaner, an NCSU graduate.
The investment is being announced Friday.
How much McClatchy’s investment is was not disclosed. However, an SEC filing made on Jan. 27 shows that Offline raised $725,000 in debt as part of a fundraiser dating back to last summer. The latest haul brings Offline’s cash total to $1.25 million.
Offline raised $700,000 in early 2016. Leading that round Michael Holt, an executive at Angie’s List, and iContact co-founder/former Durham entrepreneur Ryan Allis. Other backers included O2 Fitness owner and serial investor Michael Olander Jr., former eTix CEO Joe Kustelski and angel investor Bill Spruill, according to ExitEvent.
McClatchy, which recently named a new CEO, is doubling down on digital investments as traditional newspaper publishing continues to fade.
“Beautiful, engaging digital experiences are the future for local audiences and advertisers, and we’re excited to partner with a company like Offline who shares that view,” said Andrew Pergam, vice president of Video and New Ventures for McClatchy, in a statement.
As part of the deal, McClatchy will provide Offline with additional “sales, audience growth and innovation,” the companies said.
The deal could mean immediate expansion for Offline since McClatchy operates daily newspapers in 29 cities across the U.S.
“Both Offline and McClatchy help people fall in love with where they live,” Shaner said in the announcement. “We share similar core values and have a tremendous opportunity to build the future of local together.”
Offline, which emerged from The Startup Factory accelerator in Durham in 2012, formally launched two years ago. Its news and event curation technology is built around an iPhone app.
Offline says one in three millennial women already use its service in markets where it has launched.
Offline and McClatchy plan to expand offline to other markets beginning in “early spring.”
In addition to the Triangle and Charlotte, Offline also is available in Nashville.