Month: November 2017

BuzzFeed plans to go public — OMG cute!

According to a scoop from Axios, the master of virality plans to go public in 2018, and it’s gonna be hot AF.

The source of such gems like “Stoned People Get Surprised With A Sloth,” has already turned down multiple acquisition offers and it looks like they’re finally making good on CEO Jonah Peretti’s IPO promises.

Which is a rare move in media these days compared to the other “Big Four” digital content companies, including Vox, Vice, and Group Nine Media (owns Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker).

Rumor has it Vice is looking to sell, and neither Vox, nor Group Nine has plans to IPO in the near future.

These old people are helping millennial publishers expand

BuzzFeed, like its peers, has partnered with a traditional media companies (NBC) to expand its media offerings beyond listicles: NBC now owns stake in both BF and Vox, Disney in Vice, and Discovery in Group Nine.

Recently, they even announced a plan to leverage NBC’s cable audience by co-authoring an original, true-crime TV series, much like Netflix’s Making a Murderer (clapback alert!).

At the same time, a series of journalism hires, including their editor-in-chief from Politico, has helped them expand from stuff like dog engagement photos into a legitimate source of investigative news.

Only ‘90s VCs will get this

BuzzFeed is uniquely positioned as a media company with the sensibility and structure of a tech company, and investors are taking note.

Their valuation at the end of 2016 hit $1.7B after NBC doubled down on their investment with another $200m round, and Peretti claims revenue grew more than 65% in last year.

And hey, while they might not have the BUZZ ticker name locked down yet, they can tell you “Which Beyonce Hit You Are Based On Your Zodiac Sign.”

Smithfield’s using the whole animal

Last week, Smithfield Foods the world’s largest pork producer (valued at $14B), announced that it will explore a new business angle: Using its pigs for medical purposes like organ transplants.

So instead of putting their pork in hot dogs…

They’re putting it in people

Wait, that came out wrong. New genetic breakthroughs (i.e., CRISPR) could make it possible to use pig organs, like hearts or lungs, for human transplant.

Which sounds weird and gross, but would be a literal lifesaver for the 118k patients waiting months or even years for an available organ in the US.

Smithfield maintains that they are a food company first but, as of this month, they’ve also launched a separate segment, Smithfield Bioscience, to oversee all things medical.

They’re also part of a “public-private-tissue-engineering consortium” with $80m in grant funding from the US Department of Defense.

It isn’t just some PR bologna — it’s a lucrative market

The market for pork byproducts used for non-food purposes is already $100B in the US alone, not factoring in the potential for xenotransplants (animal-to-human).

And, since researchers and healthcare companies currently buy parts through third parties, Smithfield stands to do pretty well for themselves if they start selling direct from their farms.

That is, if someone like George Church, a leading xenoplant researcher, doesn’t do it first. His company eGenesis Bio just raised $38m in venture funding for the sole purpose of growing pig organs for human transplant.

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