Business Insider On Maven Strategy

James Heckman, Maven CEO

Reprinted from BusinessInsider.com as posted on 10/15/2019

Here's the investor deck that Jim Heckman is using to explain how he'll grow Sports Illustrated

​· Jim Heckman's startup Maven has a plan to save the publishing industry from Facebook.

· Controversially, he just took over Sports Illustrated's operation, laying off staff and announcing plans to use contractors to help feed the site.

· In an investor presentation, he lays out his plan to grow traffic and revenue, which includes adding a news site to the portfolio.

· Maven says it has a "proven playbook" for driving growth and is targeting $160 million in revenue in 2020, up from $62 million in 2019.

· It just raised $20 million from an investment firm called B Riley Financial to help it get there.

Jim Heckman is a serial entrepreneur who's started and sold various digital ad and media companies over the years. His latest is two-year-old Maven, a tech and ad platform he pitches as a way to help independent publishers claw back digital ad revenue from Facebook.

Heckman drew outcry in media circles when he and longtime collaborator Ross Levinsohn took over Sports Illustrated's media operation last week. Maven laid off 40 of Sports Illustrated's 150-person staff, and announced plans to use contractors to supplement the full-time staff.

Heckman countered reports that his past companies including Scout have failed and said he's a successful entrepreneur who plans to use his digital media experience to fix Sports Illustrated. He said his goal is to double its revenue to $40 million and traffic to 30 million unique users by the end of 2020.

Maven used the deck to raise $20 million through an investment firm, B Riley Financial.

Scroll down to read the highlights of this investor presentation, filed with the SEC, that makes the case for Maven.

"The opportunity":​

Maven's vision is to grow by providing a "transformative platform for media owners."

A 'unified cloud platform':​

The model in a nutshell is that Maven is a common platform for publishers that provides a single point of contact for advertisers. The pitch to embattled publishers is that it provides predictable advertising and subscription revenue.

The people behind Maven:​

Key to Maven's pitch is its leadership that includes longtime Heckman collaborators like Ross Levinsohn and Doug Smith and people with experience at big-name media companies like Yahoo and Hulu.

Maven's 2020 targets:​

Maven says it has a proven playbook for driving growth and is targeting $160 million in revenue in 2020, from $62 million in 2019, by adding more publishers to its platform and expanding into audio and video, among other moves.

Growth projections:​

Maven has aggressive growth projects, and sees revenue soaring as it adds publishers without adding expenses at the same pace.

Maven sees a subscription opportunity:​

The company sees getting 15% of revenue from subscriptions in 2020.

A 'new deal' for journalists:​

Maven targets journalists and media companies embattled by Facebook and Google's dominance in advertising and legacy companies' inability to pivot.

'Leading household content brands':​

Maven's model combines nationally known editorial outlets like Sports Illustrated and TheStreet with "leading journalists and passionate experts."

Maven wants to buy more media companies:​

Maven is looking to add a news publisher to complement TheStreet, which it bought earlier this year, and Sports Illustrated, which it licenses from ABG.

Plans for Sports Illustrated: video, real-time news:​

A controversial part of Maven's plan for Sports Illustrated is to use a network of contributors to supplement its permanent staff.

TheStreet will contribute subscription revenue:​

Maven projects its financial news site TheStreet contributing $20 million in subscription revenue to the company in 2019.

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