Jesse Draper is creator and host of The Valley Girl Show, through which she’s become a spokesperson for startups and helped pioneer the way of new media content distribution. Formerly a Nickelodeon star, Draper is now CEO of Valley Girl‚ where she oversees the show and runs technology blog Lalawag.com.
Just after college graduation, high school friends Bryan Goldberg, Dave Finocchio and Dave Nemetz started Bleacher Report, a sports news site where fans can also contribute content.
On Monday Time Warner purchased the website for a reported $180 million.
Everyone loves the underdog, and Bleacher Report fought an uphill battle to find success in the sports world.
“There were a lot of large incumbent players in the sports space, and a lot of people told us that there was no need for another ESPN or Sports Illustrated,” says Goldberg. “We went out and built something entirely different, and that’s why we are in this position today.”
Bleacher Report had 10.1 million unique visitors in June 2012. The site has more than 6,000 contributors, many of whom write for free. The network of contributors now covers both professional and college sports. From the beginning, Finocchio, Goldberg and Nemetz embraced this fan base in a way no other media outlet had — by giving them a voice.
“In the early years, a lot of people didn’t get what we were doing,” Goldberg says. “We didn’t yet have the money or people necessary to take the vision where we knew it could go. The Bleacher Report of today is what we wanted to build when we launched five years ago, and with the help of Turner, it can go way further. These are still early days.”
“The Bleacher Report brand, team and user base were central to the deal,” Golberg says. And the company was also making “substantial revenue” before this deal. According to Goldberg, the website “built the best sales team in media — these guys will bring in tens of millions of dollars in direct sales alone this year.”
The three founders will be staying on along with CEO Brian Grey.
The video above is a fun interview with Bryan Goldberg and Dave Finocchio from the earlier days of Bleacher Report.
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