Is Blavity Strengthening Its Own Offering To Be Acquired?
Black Americans consume lots of media, but declining advertising sales mean some black-owned media outlets have struggled to stay alive financially. Consolidations are ongoing.
Blavity, an amalgamation of “black” and “gravity,” launched in 2014, hoping to fill a void and be “a community of the most exceptional multi-cultural creators and influencers in the world.”
In many ways, Blavity is succeeding, reaching more than 7 million millennials a month and 30 million people a month via social channels. It focuses on black millennials and black culture.
Blavity recently announced that it has acquired Travel Noire, a travel and discovery platform for black millennials. This is the second acquisition of the year for Blavity, which in May bought media platform Shadow and Act.
The amount of the Travel Noire acquisition was undisclosed. Travel Noire founder Zim Ugochukwu is joining Blavity as part of the acquisition and will continue to lead Travel Noire as its chief brand officer.
The acquisition will provide the human resources that Travel Noire needs to grow. Ugochukwu said Travel Noire is “working on things that we didn’t have the capacity to work on before, with lots of man (and woman) power behind us,” The Grio reported.
In a letter posted on Blavity, Ugochukwu emphasized that her vision was to build something small:
Since the very beginning of Travel Noire’s life, I knew that I wanted to build something special. Something that didn’t conform to any of the conventional rules. I wanted to transform the way people thought about work and travel. To show people of color that travel was for them too. To debunk the notion that coworkers could never actually function as family. I wanted to build a small empire. A small giant. Something that wasn’t too big, but something that felt just right.
Moguldom asked media strategist Melvin Wilson why Blavity would buy small or struggling websites?
Wilson is the founder of New York City-area Solve Innovation Group, where he leads a team of strategists, makers, and consultants that help develop startups for growth.
Blavity could be preparing for a roll-up and purchase or raising additional funds, Wilson said via an email to Moguldom.
In April, Blavity raised more than $1.8 million, according to a SEC filing, Tech Crunch reported.
Blavity could be buying other sites, “assuming this is a move to strengthen their own offering to be acquired at a (later) date and to allow for more dollars to flow their direction with automated buying,” Wilson said.
Blavity is incredibly important as a platform for people to share their opinions and their work right now, DeBaun said in an April 2017 CNN, report:
“I think people being able to say what they need to say and having a place to say it that is going to take them seriously and amplify it is paramount to us as a country — particularly for minorities and people who are not a part of the mainstream dominant culture right now. I feel like it’s important for us to have stories and messages and for us to see others who reflect our own values — especially if we’re not in power.”
Travel Noire will remain largely independent under the Blavity umbrella, Techmoran reported. Blavity is still run by DeBaun and co-founders Aaron Samuels, Jonathan Jackson, and Jeff Nelson:
The site combines user generated editorial content, original video, and a custom designed backend to put power back in the hands of black millennials to own their story and share their perspective. Blavity says its vision is to economically and creatively support Black millennials across the African diaspora, so they can pursue the work they love, and change the world in the process.
When Blavity bought the website Shadow and Act in April, DeBaun said it was the No. 1 destination for entertainment news, opinion and dialogue around film of the African diaspora.
Blavity’s aggressiveness in making new acquisitions has inspired admiration.
“I would like to see larger African American entities be as aggressive as Blavity is being,” media strategist Wilson told Moguldom.