Oct 4, 2022 - Economy

Scoop: Punchbowl expands coverage to financial services

Punchbowl co-founder and CEO Anna Palmer interviews Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Punchbowl News, a D.C.-based political media startup, is expanding its coverage to include financial services, according to a memo to investors obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: It's Punchbowl's first major expansion since the company launched in January 2021. The new vertical paves the way for the company to dive even deeper into enterprise subscription sales and opportunities outside of Washington.

  • To date, most of Punchbowl's coverage has focused on covering Congress and congressional leadership.
  • The company's co-founders, Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan, worked together for years as star Capitol Hill reporters at Politico.

Details: The company has hired Brendan Pedersen, a congressional reporter for American Banker, to cover all things financial services in Washington, per the memo.

  • Pedersen will be responsible for covering financial services from a political, legislative and lobbying lens. His coverage will include everything from crypto regulation to lobbying by financial services companies and more.
  • "The financial services industry is one of the most influential sectors in town. Its CEOs and executives are some of the top donors to Republican and Democratic campaigns," Punchbowl executives wrote in the memo. "These titans have the ear of the leadership."

The big picture: Punchbowl launched in 2021 with four employees, but it has quickly made an impression on Washington's news-hungry political junkies.

  • The company brought in over $10 million in its first year in business in 2021, with around 10% of that revenue coming from paid subscriptions, Axios reported.
  • Today, the company has 14 employees total, including Pedersen. It hired a full-time business executive from Bloomberg in August to manage Punchbowl's enterprise subscription sales.
  • The company makes most of its revenue selling newsletter sponsorships to advertisers, but it recently redesigned its website to be able to sell more sponsorships online.

What to watch: The addition of financial services coverage could help to further expand Punchbowl's presence outside of the D.C. bubble.

  • This year, the company has held around 30 events, including ones in Michigan, New Hampshire, Miami and most recently, Texas.

The bottom line: "We see a huge opportunity for coverage in not only our newsletters but also for launching industry-specific custom products and events in Washington and elsewhere to bring our content to life for our community," Punchbowl executives wrote in the memo.

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