Millennial women’s lifestyle website Hello Giggles has sold to Time Inc. for an undisclosed amount.
“New Girl” actress Zooey Deschanel launched the site in 2011, which receives had more than 11 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore.
Hello Giggles content is created by a network of about 1,000 contributors and focused on positive celebrity, humor and lifestyle news. The site’s visitors are predominantly women aged 18 to 34. Traffic had taken off in recent years as the site delved into trending news topics, said Chief Executive Sophia Rossi, who co-founded the company with Deschanel and Molly McAleer.
“The way we look at it is, we are not going to be the first to report it, but we are going to have a clear narrative on it, a positive take to it,” said Rossi.
Time’s acquisition of HelloGiggles came about after the two companies had developed an advertising sales partnership. Time has been seeking fast-growing online media companies to compensate for the decline of its print business.
“We found we paired up really well together. They had platforms and established systems that we couldn’t even dream of as a startup,” Rossi said. “We needed to partner up with someone who could validate us in the space.”
Hello Giggles plans to lean on Time’s sales network to help it grow native advertising and social media endorsement operations. It also plans to expand beyond written content to original online videos, television and film content, as well as an e-commerce operation for its contributors — something Rossi likened to peer-to-peer shopping site Etsy.
Hello Giggles will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Time and maintain its downtown L.A. headquarters and 21 employees. The startup had raised a $1.25 million seed round in November from investors including Pritzker Group, Third Wave Digital and Michael Pierce.
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