Announcing The Information Accelerator

The fight to save quality journalism isn’t complicated. It’s just hard.

In less than four years, we’ve built The Information into a rapidly growing, cash flow-positive business with millions in revenue and a team of 25. We did so by charging for original reporting from experienced reporters. Plain and simple. And now we want to help build the next generation of subscription publications that will produce high-quality journalism across industries and geographies.

To that end, today we’re announcing The Information Accelerator.

We’ll be giving a batch of news entrepreneurs three things to help them build important, sustainable subscription news businesses: expertise, distribution and capital.

  • Expertise: A key aspect of our program is The Information Boot Camp, where those we back will work with our team in San Francisco. Our team has learned a lot about the best ways to build a subscription news business, from which articles drive subscriptions to what you need in a CMS. And as a publication that covers the tech industry, we have unique insights about how technology can be used to help, not hurt, journalism. We want to share that advice to help entrepreneurs climb the curve faster.
  • Distribution: We’ll help entrepreneurs find their first subscribers with distribution across our large base of subscribers who value premium content.
  • Capital: Our goal is for companies to exit our program with meaningful revenue (for example $100,000 in annual recurring revenue with a path to much more). To get started, we’ll invest at least $25,000 in each business in exchange for some very small financial participation to ensure alignment. We believe in making businesses self-sustaining as soon as possible so they can scale as they deliver value to readers. Our program isn't designed to help entrepreneurs raise money. It is designed to help them make money.

What are we looking for?

  • Star reporters and small teams who want to report on important subjects, including local news and science, as well as entrepreneurs from inside and outside the U.S.
  • Entrepreneurs with a proven track record of reporting news and information like no other outlet
  • Startups focused on subscription revenue

What are we not looking for?

  • Writers who solely aggregate other reporting
  • Businesses that have already raised a lot of venture capital or that are looking to

Why We Are Doing This

News entrepreneurs need mentors who understand their business. Tech startup seed programs encourage startups to pursue growth over revenue. Existing grant-making programs don’t set companies up to be sustainable for the long run. We’ve been passionate advocates about the idea that news startups need to follow a different model. We want to put our money where our mouth is.

Without a shift, the news business will remain dominated by content that is aligned with advertisers rather than readers—and quality journalism will remain in peril.

Starting The Information was the best professional decision I ever made and I am so proud of the team and publication we are building. I want to ensure that reporters passionate about a broad range of subjects have the opportunity to build the publications of their dreams, too. If they do, we’ll all be better served.

To request an application, email [email protected] today. Our deadline for applications is September 1, 2017.


Jessica Lessin founded The Information in 2013 after reporting on Silicon Valley for eight years for the Wall Street Journal. She writes a weekly column about all things tech, media and the wild ride both industries are in for. She can be found on Twitter at @jessicalessin.