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Media Startup Inverse Hires David Spiegel, Ex-CNN and BuzzFeed Sales Exec

David Spiegel, who helped launch CNN’s Great Big Story and was a senior BuzzFeed sales exec, has joined digital-media startup Inverse as chief revenue officer.

New York-based Inverse was founded in 2015 by CEO Dave Nemetz, who previously co-founded sports-fan site Bleacher Report (acquired by Turner in 2012). Inverse produces content geared around science, tech and entertainment with an audience that skews toward young males.

Most recently, Spiegel was SVP of sales and brand strategy at Great Big Story, a subsidiary of CNN Worldwide aimed at younger news consumers launched in 2015. Before that, he worked at BuzzFeed for four years, most recently as VP of brand strategy and partnerships.

Spiegel “has been on the forefront of digital sales and branded content for a long time, and I’ve hoped to one day work with him since I launched Inverse two years ago,” Nemetz said in announcing his hire. He added, “It was such a no-brainer that I even broke my ‘no hiring Davids’ rule, something I swore I’d never do.”

Spiegel started at Inverse last week. He will lead the company’s national sales strategy and team and is tasked with diversifying its products, including expansion into video, e-commerce, and other new revenue streams. He’ll also focus on boosting Inverse’s branded content capabilities.

Spiegel, who says he’s known Nemetz for more than a decade, commented that “Inverse is doing the impossible by building an owned audience in the age of distributed media.”

Inverse claims its site attracts more than 10 million monthly unique visitors, and its content reaches over 50 million users monthly across platforms. The majority of its audience is between the 16 and 30, according to Nemetz.

Inverse’s investors are Crosslink Capital, which led a $6 million Series A funding round in 2016, and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI). Earlier this year, Crosslink and BDMI invested additional capital into Inverse in a previously undisclosed round. Nemetz declined to reveal the amount of the follow-on funding but said it was in “mid-single digit millions” and closed in September.

The company’s slate of original video programming has included eSports player profile series “Button Mashers” and science-as-explained-by-tykes show “Big Ideas with Little Kids,” which debuted on Facebook’s Watch platform. The company is developing additional original series and podcasts and plans to launch verticals in travel, health and wellness in early 2018.

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