Media Startup Ozy Nabs $20 Million Investment Round

The Site Just Introduced Advertising

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Ozy.com just got a $20 million investment from Axel Springer.
Ozy.com just got a $20 million investment from Axel Springer.
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Ozy, the slick news and culture website based in Mountain View, Calif., received a $20 million investment from Axel Springer, the companies said Monday. It makes the German media company Ozy's largest investor and gives Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner a seat on Ozy's board of directors.

The investment is enormous for Ozy, which until now had raised roughly a few million dollars.

"Ozy is for us a convincing example for highly attractive digital journalism," Mr. Döpfner said in a statement Monday.

The site, founded last year by former MSNBC anchor Carlos Watson, is still figuring out how to make money. Mr. Watson recently told Ad Age that Ozy's revenue will come from a combination of advertising, live events and, down the road, a premium subscription model. TV deals could also present money-making opportunities, he said.

Ozy, which Mr. Watson has said is "not just another media startup located in New York and L.A.," has low awareness among marketers and media buyers. A couple of months ago several employees of a New York media agency told Ad Age they'd never heard of Ozy.com.

But Ozy has courted Madison Avenue and last month it introduced advertising to the site for the first time. Deutsche Bank, Emirates airline, Lufthansa and John Varvatos are among the advertisers that are running ads on the site. A media buyer told Ad Age in August that Ozy is pricing itself as "a new entrant."

Read more about Ozy and its pitch to Madison Avenue here.