Niche Media Map

Sree Kolli
3 min readDec 9, 2020

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Over the past decade, with a notable rise in M&A and funding activity in the past handful of years, a new wave of digital media companies specializing in editorial content, deep industry expertise, eCommerce, and advertising cropped up in almost every viable consumer niche.

In the last few years alone, digital media platforms like Vox, Gizmodo, and BuzzFeed launched eCommerce team to various degrees of success. After analyzing key trends, our team sat down to compile this report, in which we’ll hone in on three distinct breeds of niche digital media companies: editorial curation, product discovery, and linear commerce.

Editorial Curation

The Athletic is an online media company that specializes in online news publishing for the sports industry. It features a web-based platform that utilizes news and updates about athletes and season updates for sports such as basketball and football. To date, it has raised over $130 million to YC, Bedrock, Founders Fund, and Courtside Ventures, among others.

The Information is a subscription-based publication and online magazine that provides information, news, and articles related to technology and its current trends. The SF-based company provides professionals who are interested in technology, its current trends, and developments with its information and news.

Where By Us is building a network of local journalists, writers, and creators, using email to build connection and community. Thus far, the company has scaled five local media brands in Miami, Seattle, Portland, Orlando and Pittsburgh, with a deep focus on multimedia advertising, marketing, and creative brand campaigns.

Product Discovery

Supergreat helps our community discover new products through authentic reviews and seeks to establish a space for beauty creators to genuinely express themselves and connect with other users and brands. Last week, the company announced a $6.5 million series A funding led by Benchmark with participation from TQ Ventures, an investment fund led by Scooter Braun, Schuster Tanger and Andrew Marks, K5 Global, and Shrug Capital.

Gear Patrol is a digital and print publication focused on products and enthusiast communities. In 2018, Hearst Magazines acquired a minority stake in the platform to help the company branch out into more e-commerce efforts to diversify revenue. According to the WSJ, the company, which is profitable, makes nearly 25% of its revenue from e-commerce and affiliate linking.

PopShop Live is a pioneer in the livestream and commerce space. Dedicated to entertaining and creating shopping experiences for the next generation, the platform is scaling a live-streaming mobile marketplace where sellers can create interactive shopping shows.

Linear Commerce

Hodinkee is a NY-based news and e-commerce website for luxury and vintage watch enthusiasts. The company recently raised $40 million in a funding round led by TCG, an affiliate of The Chernin Group, with participation from new, including LVMH Luxury Ventures, True Ventures, and Tony Fadell’s Future Shape. With the fresh funding round, Hodinkee stated its intentions to further accelerate its retail and e-commerce capabilities over the next year.

Food52 is a kitchen and home blog-turned-brand, founded by two former food writers. Back in 2019, the company secured an $83 million majority investment from TCG Capital Management to finance its continued growth and expansion. The content and shopping site plans to use the investment to develop offline retail and expand its in-house product line.

HYPEBEAST is the leading online destination for men’s contemporary fashion, lifestyle, and streetwear. Founded back in 2005, the platform operates a series of editorially driven online platforms that offers one of the most well-known examples of successful linear commerce.

At Conduit, we connect the world’s best operator-investors and founders building the next generation of startups around the world.

As we scale our platform, understanding key market shifts across verticals will become increasingly vital. Our team will be digging deeper into emerging trends and first movers in the coming weeks, which you can find here.

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