Courier, based in London, was founded in 2013 to inform entrepreneurs about how to grow their small … [+]
Mailchimp is expanding its presence beyond email and into the world of print.
The Atlanta-based marketing platform has acquired Courier, a small London-based media company focused on educating entrepreneurs and small businesses. Founded in 2013 by Jeff Taylor, Courier’s 12-person team produces a bimonthly magazine, newspaper, newsletter podcast and various events.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, the deal will help Mailchimp expand internationally. According to Courier’s website, the bimonthly magazine reaches 100,000 readers in more than 26 countries.
In an interview with Forbes about the deal, Mailchimp Chief Marketing Officer Tom Klein described Courier like another piece of Mailchimp’s existing body. He said if Mailchimp itself and its distribution channels are the hands and its content production division Mailchimp Presents is the heart, then Courier is the head or the “business smarts” teaching small businesses how to be successful.
“We’re not afraid of the weird,” Klein said. “We’re a purpose-driven company and we really mean it which means we are very much dedicated to making our customers more successful. The way I think about how all this fits together, it’s a little old change-management theory where we feel like to help our customers be successful, head, heart and hands.”
Taylor—the former CMO for INQ, a mobile handset business which he co-founded—spent the past seven years focusing on the same customers as Mailchimp: small business owners.
“In the course of thinking about how I might break out and do something on my own, I quickly discovered there was no group for people like me,” he said. “Business media tends to be stocks and shares or corporate news or really cliche depictions in reality TV about what’s effectively tech-driven elements. There was very little for me and my friends for opening a coffee shop or opening a small media business.”
Taylor had been looking into a fundraising round to expand the business but was profitable even without outside funding. However, he said Courier had already been working with Mailchimp on some email products and so when the company expressed interest, that seemed to be the right route.
Even before the acquisition, Courier has collaborating with Mailchimp, emailing subscribers newsletters to complement the print edition. For example, a recent edition from last month features newsy topics with a small business bent with headlines such as “When Insta Becomes EBay” and “How to Get Your Product On TikTok.” Others talk about how small businesses decided to take VC money or how Brexit affect’s British banks.
According to Mark DiCristina, VP of Brand and Mailchimp Studios at Mailchimp, his team first became acquainted with Courier a few years ago while reading the magazine. He said he “felt like there was nothing else like it on the market.”
Taylor said the company has had broader digital aspirations for “a long time” but no money or bandwidth. However, the deal with Mailchimp will allow the company to benefit from Mailchimp’s massive reach while also operating fairly independently.
“I never thought of it as a media business,” he said. “Maybe it’s the ad agency planner DNA in me, but I sort of had the intuitive notion that really great media brings people together and acts as a totem to people. I thought before there’s no glue for this audience, but when media does its best job its not just about breaking news, but about being able to capture hearts and minds and to create a movement.’’