Startup Stories: Minute Media
Minute Media is a leading global sports media and technology company that provides unique social content experiences for fans. The company recently announced a content platform collaboration with Horizon Media, the world’s largest privately held media services agency.We spoke with President Rich Routman and CEO and Founder Asaf Peled about the company’s bid to remake sports media.
Tell us about your company’s beginnings. What did you see (or not see) in the market that led you to launch?
Minute Media originally started in 2011 as FTBPro in Tel Aviv, Israel by Asaf Peled. The initial idea came as Asaf, a huge soccer fan and formerly a Cisco employee, noticed that there was little investment in soccer related startups. He saw an opportunity to build a company that would be focused on soccer and could tap into the growing world of social media to connect like-minded fans around the world. FTBPro renamed itself 90min as it expanded to new markets and languages.
In recent years, Asaf saw the potential to bring the same concept of citizen/fan journalism to other sports beyond soccer. Minute Media opened its NY headquarters in 2016 and hired Rich Routman as president to oversee global expansion and the launch of US brand 12up. Rich previously served as Chief Revenue Officer at Perform Media. Since then, the company has expanded to e-sports with DBLTAP.
What were some of the biggest challenges that your team faced at zero stage?
When Asaf started Minute Media, then called FTBPro, he faced some challenges that likely all start-ups encounter. First, raising funding for a media company back in 2011 was much more difficult than it is today. He worked hard to share his vision for where the industry could be at a time when the media world was skeptical of a contributor-driven media model and the real-world use of social media. Recruiting the right tech talent in a competitive market, especially when your company does not yet have a name for itself, was also a challenge. And then on a leadership level, being a CEO for the first time and understanding the operational side of things was a learning process.
Let’s look at the science behind your product. What makes it different from other offerings in this space?
Minute Media’s technology is a sophisticated content creation management platform that enables social and mobile publishing all in an easy to use and scalable application. Based on the technology, fans can create, publish, share and distribute their own content. We are now reaching more than 75 million people around the world, featuring content in eleven languages from more than 4,000 contributors.
In addition to our own solutions, we’ve partnered with some of the largest media properties in the world to power their own sports content engine. Examples include HT Media in India, ProSieben in Germany and Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency, which licenses Minute Media’s publishing tools for their clients.