The Series B round for Witherspoon’s Draper James brand was led by San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures.
As a senior editor of Business Week in 1982, I wrote a cover story on the networks that were linking ATMs of different banks. It was a revolutionary idea. Consumers could now get on-line access to their bank accounts at any ATM. The barriers erected against convenience by bankers’ hours and government prohibitions against national branching were bound to come down and soon a generation of consumers would think of banking as an electronic experience.
The idea was so compelling I ended my 14-year stint at Business Week and started a newsletter to write about bank networks and debit cards. Before long, my company was publishing magazines on credit cards, health care, and insurance networks. Eventually, my team built an $80 million publishing company-Faulkner & Gray-with magazines, newsletters, conferences and directories in banking, cards, mortgage, insurance, collections, health care and accounting. Everything was based on the premise that private data networks would revolutionize vertical markets-establishing new competitors with new strategies and business practices.
Then came the mother of all networks-the Internet. Suddenly, consumers became the key players in data networking. No longer did they interface with a network at a retail POS terminal, a hospital computer, or even a bank ATM. Now, the consumer’s own PC was linked to the network. Seemingly overnight, the private data networks that linked businesses were displaced by one network linking consumers to businesses and to each other. A new generation of web-based competitors would do battle in every major industry, guided by new strategies and best practices and supported by a new breed of solutions vendors. All markets would embrace the web, but each in its own way. Now this was a revolution to write about. It was time to leave my job again.
So last July, after 18 years at Faulkner & Gray, I left to form a new company-Vertical Web Media-to publish magazines and web sites analyzing the unique impact the web has on different industries. I have been joined by long-time colleagues at F&G, including Group Publisher Kurt Peters (a 17-year F&G veteran) and Advertising Sales Director Nancy Bernardini (12 years at F&G). Our first publication is Internet Retailer and Internetretailer.com, which we acquired from Faulkner & Gray in July. At F&G, Kurt proposed the creation of Internet Retailer and Nancy was its first advertising director. Since its launch 18 months ago, the magazine’s editorial coverage and advertising client base have expanded with each issue.
Now the people who created Internet Retailer are focused on nothing else. It is our passion, our livelihood. You will see ever improving editorial coverage of e-retailing, stronger circulation, increased advertising opportunities, and better communication with readers and advertisers. We look forward to delivering on these promises and welcome ideas on how we can serve you better. You can reach us via e-mail (Jack@verticalwebmedia.com; Kurt@verticalwebmedia.com; Nancy@verticalwebmedia.com) or call me at 312-362-9527, Kurt at 312-362-9529 or Nancy at 631-329-7024. We look forward to hearing from you.