Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Openweb.com

OpenWeb, a platform used by publishers to manage comments and user interactions, has raised $150 million in a series E financing round that values the company at $1.1 billion, its CEO and co-founder Nadav Shoval tells Axios.

Why it matters: OpenWeb's growth is driven by a realization from publishers that building direct relationships with their audiences online is a stronger value proposition long-term than being reliant on social media and search giants.

Details: The company, which was previously called Spot.IM, licenses technology to publishers that helps them moderate user comments.

  • It plans to use the funds to build more tools for publishers to create direct relationships with their audiences, Shoval says.
  • As privacy becomes a bigger issue, the company has doubled down on offerings that will help publishers collect first-party data from its users.

Part of its growth plans include expanding its sign-in products that push users to log into publishers' websites directly, allowing publishers to keep valuable user data.

  • The company plans to invest more in its data science teams and products to strengthen the algorithms that it uses to moderate user comments and engagements on publishers' websites.
  • OpenWeb today is based in New York, Tel Aviv and Kyiv. It hopes to expand its global presence with new offices in Canada, east Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
  • The financing will possibly be used for some acquisitions as well, Shoval says.

The round was led by investment firms Insight Partners and Georgian.

  • Other investors that participated in the round include tech investor Omer Cygler, Israeli-based investment group Harel, and Entrée Capital.
  • The company also brought in its first set of strategic investors to participate in the round, including The New York Times Company, ad giant Dentsu, Samsung Next and media personality Scott Galloway.
  • Galloway has joined the company’s board.

The participation from The Times is emotional for Shoval, who says he moved to the U.S. from Tel Aviv in order to court their investment.

  • The Times, he says, "holds us accountable to make sure we’re solving the right things."
  • "OpenWeb’s mission of combating toxicity in online conversations and empowering publishers to develop direct relationships with their audiences deeply resonates with us," New York Times Director of Corporate Development Matthew Lloyd-Thomas said in a statement.

By the numbers: The new round brings the company's total amount raised to around $225 million.

  • The company has booked around $80 million in revenue so far this year, Shoval tells Axios.
  • It works with over 1,000 publishers across the world.
  • The company currently employs over 150 people.

The big picture: Recent antitrust issues and privacy fights have pushed publishers to focus more attention on publishing via the open web, where they have more visibility and control over their data and user relationships.

  • "We want to create a more transparent environment by helping publishers bring back their audiences from social media," says Shoval.

Go deeper: Publishers see new life in the old open web

Go deeper

Jan 11, 2022 - Economy & Business

Media experts sound alarm on rise of paywalled content

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It’s a bull market for media companies targeting high-end readers, with Justin Smith and Ben Smith joining the likes of Puck, Air Mail, The Information, Axios, Punchbowl News, and others targeting influential, wealthy individuals with new digital publications.

Why it matters: "In this commercial environment, quality is being supported by paying audiences," said Rodney Benson, chair of NYU's Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. "Obviously, long-term, this is going to have tremendously negative civic effects."

Fayetteville's AcreTrader raises $40M for growth

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

AcreTrader is banking on the tangible asset of farmland over the vapor that is cryptocurrency.

What's happening: The Fayetteville fintech company raised $40 million in its Series B investment, led by Anthemis Group of New York.

  • Several existing investors — including Steuart and Tom Walton's RZC Investments — also participated in the series.
Kate Marino, author of Markets
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views on their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of cancelled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.