Asaf is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minute Media, parent company of 90min, 12up, DBLTAP and Mental Floss. Founded in late 2011, Minute Media Minute Media is a global, digital, sports media company, powered by socially driven content created by the fans, for the fans. It has grown to be one of the world’s fastest growing media platforms with over 100m monthly unique users worldwide and has expanded the brand throughout Europe, North America, South America and Asia. Asaf is involved in all aspects of Minute Media’s growth and operations, from product development to marketing and content. Previously, Asaf spent four years with Cisco’s Corporate Development team, driving acquisitions and investments with a focus on the Israeli tech arena. Prior to Cisco, Asaf was technology investor with Evergreen Ventures in Tel Aviv as well as with Apax Partners in California. Asaf has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and a dual B.A. degree in Law & Economics from Tel Aviv University.
We first began working together towards the end of 2013 – just 2 years after Minute Media was established. Over the past 5 years, Minute Media has grown exponentially on a global scale, and recently brought total fundraising to an impressive $77m to date. Could you share some background on how you have built Minute Media over the last 7 years?
We’ve scaled MM over the last 7 years based on three drivers: 1. Use of technology (unlike our competitors in traditional publishers that lack tech); 2. Using fans to create content, replacing traditional journalists.: this has driven cost down and engagement up; 3. Going global from day one, while most of our competitors are local by nature.
What have been your main challenges so far in the Minute Media growth journey?
The main challenges we have faced so far have been building and maintaining a core culture integrating technology and media DNAs under one roof.
What have been your key learning experiences so far?
In building and growing a company, nothing is more important than picking the right partners for the marathon: co-founders, management, investors; right choices at the start help scale later on.
You recently announced the strategic acquisition of Mental Floss, an award-winning media brand to assist Minute Media’s growth. What will be your biggest drivers of growth going forward?
Over the last couple of years we’ve turned our tech publishing platform from B2C-focused to one that powers a growing number of integrated publishing partners; On the B2C front, we now own 5 great brands (90min, 12up, DBLTAP, floor8, Mental Floss) and are planning to continue to grow through acquisitions; on the B2B front, we have 50 integrated partners including the likes of Pro7, Turner, FanDuel, Hearst and USA Today – we plan to double that number every year going forward.
What advice would you offer other growth companies about how they finance their business?
Go for moderate rather than mega rounds, allowing intense focus on building a business the right way without over-reliance on external capital; identifying the right moment to start using debt to accelerate growth; establish an operation that has the capacity to generate significant EBITA margins in the long run rather than just relying on top line growth.