Former Forbes.com CEO Jim Spanfeller left to create a company that can advise new and existing online publishers — but instead will be growing his own. paidContent has confirmed that the Spanfeller Media Group is on the verge of closing a $2 million funding round; the funding was first reported by MediaMemo.
The company’s first online publishing project will focus on “food.” Initially, the company will roll out the food sites one at at time, with simultaneous launches of two or three sites per vertical as SMG gets more established. SMG expects to build a staff of about 15- to 20 people.
It’s not clear what other verticals Spanfeller has in mind, but it does look like he’s ruled out a number of areas he doesn’t want to focus on, namely news, business/finance, entertainment, mainstream sports and tech.
The funding round should be completed by next week. Investors in SMG include RRE Ventures, Greenhill SAVP, Softbank and Lerer Media Ventures.
Spanfeller spent nearly nine years at Forbes. He was credited for taking the site from the bottom of the audience rankings to making it a highly visited site, while driving pageviews with numerous slideshows. Before he left, Spanfeller presided over the integration of the print and digital staffs.
In a series of columns written for paidContent, which Spanfeller started writing two months before announcing his departure from Forbes.com, he repeatedly fought against the notion that technology — not content — is king.
In a piece published in February, he wrote, “In every medium, technology has played a key role. But through history, once critical mass has been achieved, the technology implications around the business model begin to wane, and the value of the core product begins to take center stage… The problem has been publishers