‘I don’t ever get the benefit of the doubt’: Blavity founder Morgan DeBaun on running a Black media business in 2020

Digiday 07 Jul 2020 04:01
July 7, 2020 by Pierre Bienaimé

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These should be banner days for a Black media site that has long covered social injustice for a young audience.

But Blavity CEO and founder Morgan DeBaun describes challenges that start at the initial difficulty of raising investment as a Black company.

“For me, the systemic racism comes in the fact that I don’t ever get the benefit of the doubt,” DeBaun said at the Digiday Publishing Summit.

As DeBaun sought funds in Silicon Valley, she recalls how investors didn’t believe her site’s strong organic growth, achieved without investing in Facebook ads. “They’re like ‘well, we need access to your Google Analytics,'” DeBaun said.

“It’s all of this diligence that certainly is the process, but the question is, would you run the exact same media company through this process if they weren’t Black?”

Blavity was founded in 2014 and raised a $6.5 million Series A round in 2018.

As for 2020, DeBaun said that advertisers have obviously cut their spending. They’re also wary of having their ads presented alongside coverage of racial injustice or social unrest.

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