Jul 12, 2022 - Economy

Semafor hires Meera Pattni as head of global communications

Photo: Liza Kanaeva-Hunsicker

Semafor, the global news startup, has hired veteran media communications executive Meera Pattni as its head of global communications, based out of New York.

Why it matters: A communications lead should help the upstart refine its message ahead of a fall launch.

  • While investors and media insiders have expressed confidence in the company's co-founders, former Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith and former New York Times columnist Ben Smith, many have expressed confusion about the company's value proposition.

Details: Pattni will sit on Semafor’s founding leadership team and will be responsible for crafting and implementing the company's communications and public relations strategy.

  • She previously served as senior vice president of communications at Condé Nast, where she oversaw the communications strategy for the publisher's more than 30 brands across Europe, APAC and Latin America. Before that, she spent nearly a decade in communications at Vice Media Group.

The big picture: Semafor has raised around $25 million from at least a dozen individuals and/or family offices, sources tell Axios.

  • The New York Times reported the names of a few of those investors, including The Information's founder Jessica Lessin and The Atlantic's chairman emeritus David Bradley.
  • As Axios has previously reported, the funding is a SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) round, which would allow the company to convert funding into equity when it eventually raises money at a specific valuation.

Between the lines: Pattni is the latest in a slew of high-level hires at the company.

  • Last week, Semafor named former Axios social media executive Neal Rothschild as its head of audience. On Monday, Vox Media's Joe Posner was announced as Semafor's head of video.
  • “The news landscape should be continually evolving if we are serving our audiences correctly and that means we need more leaders who are willing to bet big on finding new models for our industry," Pattni said.

What's next: Pattni begins later this month and will report to Justin Smith, the company's CEO.

Editor's note: The third paragraph of this story, beginning "While investors and media insiders," was inadvertently deleted because of an editing error and has been restored.

Go deeper