Sports Illustrated publisher Maven raises $24M to help Seattle media tech startup expand

Maven CEO Ross Levinsohn. (Maven Photo)

Maven, the Seattle-based media company that publishes Sports Illustrated, raised an additional $24 million to help fuel expansion and reduce its debt.

The publicly-traded company used security purchase agreements via private placements of convertible preferred stock.

Maven has a coalition of more than 250 brands, including TheStreet.com, History, Maxim, Ski Magazine, and others.

Licensing firm Authentic Brands Group, which bought Sports Illustrated in May 2019 from Meredith Corp., sold the magazine’s print and digital publishing rights to Maven last year.

TCS Capital Management and Hunt Technology Ventures LP invested in Maven for the first time, while existing backers B. Riley Financial, Invenire Capital Partners and 180 Degree Capital also participated.

“The investments in Maven are another validation of our business model, strategy, and leadership team,” Maven CEO Ross Levinsohn said in a statement. “We continue to expand our business, drive efficiencies and margin, and look for new opportunities in the market.”

Levinsohn took over in August, replacing Maven founder James Heckman, who is still with the company.

Maven had a tumultuous run as SI’s publisher under Heckman’s leadership. Layoffs at the venerable sports magazine in October 2019 drew criticism from employees and unions; the company did another round of job cuts in March. Maven was also in the spotlight earlier this year following the firing of longtime soccer journalist Grant Wahl after he criticized its handling of job cuts and salary reductions amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Maven previously raised $20 million in October 2019. It landed a $5.7 million loan from the federal government as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.

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