Millennial-Focused Media Firm Odyssey Rakes In $25M for Growth

An Indianapolis-based online media company called Odyssey raised $25 million from institutional investors in its first such funding round, the firm announced Thursday.

Serial entrepreneur Michael Lazerow and Columbus Nova managing partner Jason Epstein led the round and will join Odyssey’s board of directors.

Odyssey is billed as a social content platform for the up-and-coming millennial generation—a more targeted version of industry heavyweights like BuzzFeed and Vice that boasts more than 30 million unique visitors each month. That’s an increase of 10 million users since November 2015.

In January, Google sites topped all digital media properties, attracting an average of 245 million unique visitors each month, according to multi-platform measurement firm comScore. Members of the elusive 18- to 24-year-old age group are 244 percent more likely to visit Odyssey than an “average” Internet site, the company said, citing the full February 2016 comScore report.

Odyssey’s content comes from a pool of more than 10,000 unpaid writers in 900-plus U.S. communities who help to promote it.

The new capital will be used to continue growing the business. The company said it has raised a total of $32 million since 2013.

Lazerow, who also invested in BuzzFeed, has founded several successful media companies. He sold Buddy Media to Salesforce.com for $800 million in June 2012.

“I haven’t been this excited about a new company since jumping into the Facebook ecosystem at Buddy Media in 2007,” he said in a prepared statement. “Odyssey has created an entirely new grassroots content creation model that combines the best of online publishing and social networking.”

He and Columbus Nova’s Epstein join other prominent investors in Odyssey including former ExactTarget/Salesforce executives Scott Dorsey, Traci Dolan, and Tim Kopp.

“We are thrilled to add more partners with a strong history of scaling industry-changing organizations as we work to position Odyssey as the social platform with the mission of democratizing content creation and discovery,” Odyssey CEO Evan Burns said in the statement.

Odyssey also recently hired The Huffington Post’s Lauri Baker as senior vice president of sales and marketing. She joins a growing staff of more than 100 full-time employees at offices in Indianapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Andrea Muirragui Davis is a freelance writer and editor based in Fishers, Indiana. Follow @

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