ViralNova, a Buzzfeed-like media startup company run by Scott DeLong, has been acquired by digital-media company Zealot Sites in a cash and stock deal that could be worth as much as $100 million if Zealot appreciates in value.
DeLong and his website provide an interesting backstory.
To get a while, ViralNova was an one-man startup run totally by DeLong and two freelance writers. Jointly they were able to grow the website to Buzzfeed’s size and size — about 100 mil monthly readers — without having any full-time personnel or raising any money from outside investors.
DeLong, who launched the website in mid-2013, put a few Google advertisings on each page. Within 8 months, his lean shop was creating a great deal of money per month and millions of us dollars annually.
ViralNova capitalized on social-friendly stories with appealing headlines that would burst on Facebook. Some cases include:
It Might Look like a Normal Chandelier. Yet When You Stand Beneath It And Look Up… Wow.
This Guy’s Bananas Idea Started To Generate His Wife Nervous. Yet It Was Worth every penny, Organization Me.
It was one of some digital-media startup companies to grow on the backbone of Facebook. EliteDaily, Mic, Upworthy, and Distractify all launched around the same time and progressed to tens of large numbers of monthly readers by having their articles distributed far and wide on Facebook.
In the earlier year though, Facebook has cracked down on virus-like sites and changed their NewsFeed algorithm to show fewer of their tales. The changes have murdered off some of ViralNova’s competitors, and it triggered DeLong’s business to go through too. In 2014, this individual tweeted that running a business on Facebook was “like opening a McDonald’s with an active volcano. very well
Still, ViralNova’s outcome may wrap up being the most successful of the lot. EliteDaily was recently obtained by DailyMail for about $50 million; Mic has gone on to increase many millions in money, and Twitter offered to buy it. Upworthy and Distractify have largely decreased off the map.
This individual almost quit
ViralNova failed to always look like the frontrunner. At one point, DeLong thought seriously about throwing in the hand towel.
The 32-year-old Ohio local had built websites before and sold them, but he had never recently been a full-fledged CEO. His first successful online business was a site for Círculo 2 enthusiasts that made $500 monthly from Yahoo ads. DeLong launched it in his early twenties, shortly after he managed to graduate from Kent State University or college. memes
“That opened my sight, ” recalled DeLong. “I thought, if I can make $500 a month, I can make $5, 000 a month. There is no limit; the internet is huge. That was my epiphany. ” funny videos
DeLong’s next website was bigger and more successful. This individual launched GodVine, a site with uplifting stories that resonated with Facebook’s female-heavy massive. It became a top-1, 500 website on traffic-ranking site Alexa, and DeLong sold GodVine for a “life-changing” sum to Salem Communications.
godvine most popular 2014
The most popular story on Godvine in 2014 was this video with regards to a Chik-fil-an operation closing to honor a slain officer.
ViralNova was meant to be a much broader version of GodVine — it would submit viral content without the religious tie. DeLong launched it while he was bored and between careers in Barcelona. He transferred home to Ohio and was surprised how quickly Viral Nova took off.
Although eight months after introducing ViralNova, in January 2014, the stress of working an one-person startup became too much for DeLong. His website was jogging on a bare-bones version of WordPress; ViralNova got so much traffic that any widget DeLong tried out to add would break his site. And although ViralNova was netting DeLong millions of dollars privately, he was working 18 hours every day, even on weekends. He quickly tired and hired a domain broker to explore acquisition opportunities.
There were not many bidders but there were a lot of folks who wanted to make investments in ViralNova. Silicon Area venture capitalists agreed to give DeLong millions of us dollars to show ViralNova into a real business, but DeLong declined.
“I don’t want the responsibility of employing people. I don’t want to open an office. I like to do my own thing. I actually hate pressure, ” DeLong told Business Insider at the time.
It was a little while until a New York Metropolis entrepreneur named Sean Beckner to convince DeLong to stay in the overall game. Becker had read about ViralNova and DeLong’s desire to that in January 2014. He emailed DeLong and agreed to buy a piece of the organization. The offer would allow DeLong to get paid and get back sanity while also carrying on to help the business. Following months of meetings, the two reached an offer.
martin delong viral nova president
Scott DeLong looking pensive.
Beckner became ViralNova’s CEO and curved out its executive team with a CFO, Barry Geurts, a VP, Johnson Elledge and a CTO, Shaun Tilford.
Tilford built DeLong a custom CMS, which the team telephone calls Nova, that has a bunch of social-engagement tools and data included in it, including the ability to evaluate two different headlines as well to see which executes better. One of DeLong’s freelance article writers, Sara Heddleston, became ViralNova’s taking care of editor and hired a dozen writers. A direct-ad-sales team was also chosen to better monetize ViralNova’s 100 million+ monthly pageviews.
Today ViralNova has twenty two full-time employees and it is on track to create $35 million this 12 months. The organization will likely move to Zealot Media’s Venice, California, headquarters.
Although DeLong has pledged to remain on board, Zealot Networks is finally giving him the break he needs.
The moment asked if he’s still working 16 hours DeLong replied, “It’s much better now, put it that way. I can have a lttle bit of a life. “