Jul 28, 2017

Jessica Lessin launches incubator to support news entrepreneurs

The Information

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin has already launched her own subscription news company, The Information. Now, she wants to help others do the same, Axios has learned.

Lessin is launching "The Information Accelerator," an incubator that will advise up-and-coming subscription news startups and offer expertise, distribution and capital. Startups from anywhere around the globe will get $25,000 + to build a subscription-based news publication (on any topic) that features original reporting. Lessin's hope is that the incubator will receive email applications from those looking to transform local news.

Why it matters: "Without a shift, the news business will remain dominated by content that is aligned with advertisers not readers, and quality journalism will remain in peril," Lessin says. Lesson tells Axios that the program stemmed from being approached by many reporters who wanted to start subscription businesses but didn't know how. "This is about de-risking the decision and helping reporters build real businesses faster."

Providing tech-focused experience: Lessin plans to spend a lot of time teaching entrepreneurs how to use tech on their own terms, instead of relying on the resources of bigger tech companies. Part of the program will be participation in "The Information Boot Camp," where participants will travel to San Francisco to work with Lessin's team at The Information.

Note: Axios CEO and co-founder Jim Vandehei is a member of The Information's Board of Advisors.

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