Ozy Media raises $5.3M in seed round

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Dec 28, 2013 05:04 AM EST

Daily digital news operation Ozy Media secured $5.3 million in funding, the San Francisco Business Times reported citing a regulatory filing. Ozy Media was founded by Carlos Watson, a former anchor of CNN and MSNBC together with former Goldman Sachs associate Samir Rao. Although the report did not state who the backers for the most recent funding round were, San Francisco Business Times reported that Laurene Powell, the widow of former Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, backed the startup.

In September, Watson and Rao launched their media site publicly. Aside from Powell, other investors who supported the site included early-stage tech investor Ron Conway, veteran Silicon Valley law firm principal Larry Sonsini, Google Chief Legal Officer Dave Drummond and online textbook rental firm Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig, the report said.

A September 16 report about co-founder Carlos Watson that appeared on the Business Insider said that Ozy Media is an outfit that will seek to inform its audience about businesses, bands and political stars as they emerge. Through high quality videos, image-based slideshows and infographics, Watson said he wants their site to feature the next big star before the world even before he or she is heard of.

When the Business Insider asked if people will care for people and ideas even before they go mainstream, Watson's answer was in the affirmative. He said, "I think most people would say, 'No, we don't need another news site.' But if you asked them, 'Has there been a change, such that people are hungrier now to see more, be more and do more than before?' I think they'd tell you there has been. That's why Kickstarter exists. That's why Airbnb has such a robust business. There's a reason why there are things called 500 startups, and a reason startup accelerators are in every city. There's a reason why American Idol is still strong 15 years later. There's a hunger people have for both for themselves and in the world for what's next and what's new." 

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