OpBandit and Vox Media to join forces

An important announcement

We started OpBandit in the fall of 2012 with the idea that there should be a smarter way to place the most compelling content in front of online readers. Since then, we’ve been working hard to build a robust set of optimization tools that empower digital editors to do just that. We’ve had the unique opportunity to collaborate with many of the world’s top publishers over the last few years, and we’re proud of both the product we’ve built and the many success stories of our customers along the way.

As a continuation of that journey, we’re excited to announce that OpBandit has been acquired by Vox Media. Our team and technology will continue our mission, but moving forward we’ll expand our toolset within their Chorus platform and everywhere they deliver content to their audience. Given the deeper integration that will be possible with complete access to the data and capabilities of their platform, we expect to grow our products in ways that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. It’s clear to us that Vox shares our core belief that technology and media should meld around strong data platforms to make the best possible tools for talented editorial teams — and as a part of their team, we’ll be able to provide significant value in helping shape the future evolution of their modern media stack for their audience and advertising partners.

Highway to the Danger Zone

What sparked from a series of late-night, animated conversations in the corner of a DC pub has led to experiences that neither of us could have fully appreciated at the time and that we will surely never forget. OpBandit was born from our formative frustrations in the media world and with the hope to adopt better data techniques from e-commerce. In the early days we spent countless hours hacking over our worn laptops and scribbling on whiteboards in our cramped apartment office while we bootstrapped our prototype. The next thing we needed was to get some massive traffic flowing through our optimization service to prove the benefits at scale.

Luckily, we had the early support of a few media partners, like PBS NewsHour, who helped us quickly work through our rough pitches and rudimentary user interfaces. Among these voices were many of our talented former colleagues and friends from Foreign Policy and Slate. Our real break came through when we were accepted as one of three companies in the inaugural class of timeSpace at The New York Times. While there, we had the privilege of working with some of the top talent in media and the opportunity to integrate into the tight-knit NYC startup community. We were challenged to refine our brand narrative, master our pitches, and constantly improve our editorial tools to provide what matters most to newsrooms.

Since then, we’ve come a long way and have grown immensely, eventually running in seven countries with support for four languages and serving over a million optimized page views per month. We’ve been fortunate to forge partnerships with a variety of innovative customers, ranging from regional papers to multinational telecoms.

For our current customers

If you are one of our existing customers, you will continue to receive full service and support through the entirety of your contracts. Also, it’s important to note that Vox Media will not be acquiring any customer or user data that OpBandit may have collected as part of your service. Absolutely no data — no names, email addresses, documents, media, or any other user data — will be transferred as the result of the acquisition.

A moment to thank our key supporters along the way

It goes without saying that there have been countless people we’ve depended on to get where we are today — thanks to each and every one of you who have taken your time to give us even the smallest feedback, words of encouragement, and yes, the occasional kick in the ass when we needed it most. No individuals did so more than our closest advisors (and friends), Raj Malik and Amit Sharma — for that we will be forever thankful. We’d also like to recognize the continual support of Vijay Ravindran and Geoff Isenman — these guys have provided invaluable advice during our growth.

Without a doubt, our early champion and valued media customer has been The Washington Post. The editorial and product teams at The Post have recognized the importance of cultivating audience engagement for the most compelling stories the publication delivers, day-in and day-out. Their input has been invaluable, and we really appreciate their help and passion above all.

Our investors at The Graham Holdings Company and The New York Times also deserve our sincere gratitude. They provided not only support but industry experience and connections to give us an immense boost at an early stage.

Perhaps most deserving of our unwavering appreciation are our close friends and family. You’ve been here all along — listening to us on good days and bad, dealing with our absence through marathon work sessions, letting us crash on your couches, being the critical audience to endless pitch practice, and flat out supporting us when we needed it the most. Hopefully we’re able to pay it forward in some meaningful way down the road. Among this group, a special thanks to our amazing entrepreneur friends and advocates at Wiser and Seen!

Here’s to the next chapter with our new Vox Media colleagues, and we look forward to building incredible things with all of you again in the future!

Blaine and Brian, OpBandit Founders