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The Hustle

Sports media company The Athletic swings for the fences with another $40m in funding

Axios reports that 2-year-old subscription-based sports media company The Athletic just raised another $40m, co-led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and Bedrock Capital.

That brings their total to $70m — at a $200m valuation.

To put that in context, that’s twice as much as Barstool Sports’ $100m valuation, and on par with Bleacher Report’s near-$200m acquisition price by Turner media 5 years ago.

After reviewing the play… we, uh, well…

According to the report, the company has 100k paying subscribers with an annual $72 subscription fee (not including discounts to sign up, etc.).

That would put their annual recurring revenue at $7.2m — which, even at a typical SaaS software multiplier of 5x, does not a $200m valuation make, so they must have some real “hockey stick growth” in their 3-to-5-year projections.

They also have 300 full-time employees including a roster of high-profile sports journalists with their own cult followings so, needless to say, their overhead ain’t cheap.

That said, at least in the short-term, their hefty investment has earned them some highly coveted brand affinity.

When we asked our readers whether any of them subscribed to The Athletic (and why), many of them pointed to the fact that the company poached their favorite sports writers and gushed about the design of their news app.

Casey The Athletic at the bat

If we know one thing about the Founders Fund, it’s that they don’t give 2 sh*ts about modest wins — and The Athletic’s founders (also first-time media founders) likely knew they were signing up for a “go big or go home” strategy when they took the check.

The Athletic pegs its “closest competitor” as not Barstool or Bleacher Report, but ESPN’s streaming service ESPN+, which currently has 10x their paying subscribers.

Long story short, The Athletic is at bat, pointing to the outfield — and it’s either gonna be a home run, or a big ol’ swing and a miss.

No joy in Mediaville

Sony brings in a $2.1B profit as PlayStation sales continue to kill

The PlayStation division is always Sony’s top performer and Q2 was no exception, seeing a 27% increase in gaming revenue last quarter, contributing to Sony’s $2.1B profit.

The gamer god pulled in $4.9B in Q2 sales and helped Sony’s operating profit jump by 59% as revenue rose to $19.6B.

Cash Bandicoot

In raw sales, Sony has sold over 86m PS4 consoles to date (up 6m from the last figure given for PS3 sales as of 2013). And, though demand for PS4s will eventually decline when the next big console drops — the hunger for games will never be curbed.

New Exclusive title “Spider-Man” sold over 3m copies in its first 3 days of sale in September, boosting the gaming division’s projected revenue for the full fiscal year 8% higher than expected.

Now Sony is ridin’ the wave

Sony is feeling so chill about the rest of the year that it has raised its full-year operating profit forecast to $7.7B — up 30% over its original target — which, if pulled off, would set a company record for annual income.

It’s not just PlayStation though. Its $2.3B buyout of EMI Music Publishing also had a massive impact, representing 55% of the additional revenue Sony wants to hit for the financial year.

You know you’re old when: Jay-Z backed insurance platform raises $35m

Ethos, a startup pushing a new, reportedly more efficient and affordable life insurance product, announced today that it has raised a Series B financing round of $35m.

The round was led by Accel, a growth stage VC firm, with additional investors including Google Ventures, and a subsidiary of Roc Nation — Jay-Z’s entertainment company.

Ethos what? Ethos who?

Ethos makes its money by extending an online and mobile sales line to insurance policies created by life insurance company Assurity Life.

Their hook is, Instead of selling “permanent” life insurance (which payers often let lapse or opt out over time for a loss), Ethos sees itself as a more “equitable” insurance provider, offering a form of life insurance that allows policyholders to pay for a fixed period of time.

Seems like a big investment for insurance

Life insurance is definitely not the sexiest of investments, but, for some reason, investment companies with high-profile faces from Hollywood have shown interest.

The company’s previous $11.5m round came from Kevin Durant’s Durant Company and Will Smith’s firm, Smith Family circle, among others.

Ethos has seen customers and applications grow by more than 400% in the past 4 months, which leads us to the most important question: Are these celebrities tuned in to a major market disruption?

AI platform Sentieo raises $19m Series A to replace the Bloomberg Terminal

TechCrunch reports that AI-powered “investment research software” Sentieo has raised $19m to pour some marketing fuel on its SaaS fire.

The company uses natural language processing to parse through financial documents and visualize data from multiple sources like Alexa (web traffic) and Apptopia (app downloads).

The goal? Fill the gaps financial tools like Bloomberg Terminals have left open for 20+ years.

But, Sentieo doesn’t need AI to know Bloomberg is vulnerable

Meanwhile, they’re still charging $21k a year for their subscriptions, compared to about $12k for Sentieo (which according to TC also has a “traditional financial equity data terminal” on top of its other capabilities).

I know what you said last quarter

The most interesting thing about Sentieo is its ability to search nontraditional data sources like earnings call transcripts and SEC documents for “mentions” of specific phrases (like “Model 3 production volume,” etc.), with enough flexibility for varied phrasing and synonyms to make it useful.

But, Sentieo is still the new kid on Wall Street — and it’s got a pretty massive target on its back if it wants to unseat the King Terminal.

These guys travel the world and get drunk… for work

Sounds like a dream, but the guys over at Last Bottle are living in Napa, drinking wine and forging relationships with the best winemakers in the world — all to give you 30-70% off their favorite wines.

Yep. Except instead of cheaply made “private label” wines or sketchy “wine clubs,” these guys find you a fresh pick of the very best established wines (along with killer reviews) every day for a fraction of the regular retail price — no subscription or club membership trickery. Just first come, first served, so you gotta move quick.

But, they’re no strangers to a little hijinx…

Throughout the year, Last Bottle’s wine-sipping crew discovers hundreds of small-production, limited releases from smaller wineries — wines that many people will never even see, much less at their wicked prices.

Their Halloween Mystery Case is a Frankenstein bundle of their favorite finds. They slap a scary good extra-good discount on them and deliver it right to your door. It’s a Christmas Halloween Miracle.

Use the link below to shop their exclusive 6- and 12-pack Mystery Cases andget an instant $10 credit.

Boo-undle →deals deals deals

“It’s no use crying over expired sales.”

– Jim Laucher from Phoenix, AZ

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