Silicon Valley start-up Ozy Media announces its closure. here’s why

The Times published a statement from the company’s board that Ozy was shutting down for good “with a heavy heart.” The company has produced newsletters, podcasts and videos, covering “news and culture to technology, business, learning and entertainment,” according to its website. He promised to “never, never be boring or predictable.”

The Times September 26 article centered on a bizarre incident in which Ozy co-founder and COO Samir Rao apparently impersonated a YouTube executive during a conference call with Goldman Sachs bankers considering investing in Ozy.

The digital media company, according to the Times, has sought to tout its success on YouTube as a selling point for investors.

Ozy executives then apologized for the incident, attributing it to a mental health crisis that Rao was experiencing.

Long-time former BBC presenter Katty Kay announced last week that she was leaving Ozy after less than a year with the company, shortly after the Times article was published. She tweeted that the Times reports were “serious and deeply disturbing.”

Ozy, who started in 2013, was led by former MSNBC host Carlos Watson and rose to prominence in part thanks to his backing from Laurene Powell Jobs, a prominent investor and widow of the Apple co-founder. , Steve Jobs.

Watson could not be reached for comment on Friday. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company has also long faced allegations that it has consistently and significantly overestimated the number of visitors to its website, a key way for digital publishers to generate revenue and potentially attract investors.

Ozy avoided web traffic reports generated by the Comscore company, which many other internet and online media companies rely on, choosing to publish his own numbers instead.

Ozy also tried to push back reports that he was buying web traffic, rather than relying on his own reports and digital products to attract readers.

According to the Times, Ozy had raised more than $ 83 million as of April 2020, citing data from PitchBook. The company had 118 employees, according to its LinkedIn page.

Dominic Fracassa is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: dfracassa@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @dominicfracassa


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