In 2012, Insider Louisville was a scrappy start-up carving out a niche in the local online news market. Without the resources of its corporate competitors, we broke story after story. “Insiders” — the people in Louisville who are interested in how we can make Louisville a fantastic city — started paying attention, and our readership grew.
That year, Tom Cottingham joined the company as an investor, and we redesigned our website and added new editorial staff. Our loyal audience continued to grow as did our position as a leading local news source. In 2013, Cottingham bought out the original investors and founder Terry Boyd, becoming sole owner of Insider Louisville LLC.
In the past two years our traffic has grown nearly 500 percent, having doubled year to date, and our reputation as a go-to source for daily business, local government, economic and cultural information in Louisville has become solidified.
Recently, Insider Louisville LLC closed on a round of private equity that will allow us to continue our growth trajectory. David Jones Jr., Doug Cobb and Jon Pyles all invested in a minority interest in Insider Louisville LLC; Cottingham remains the majority investor and CEO.
“This is both a strategic and a financial investment” said Cottingham. “The additional capital, plus the media and civic expertise of Dave, Doug and Jon, present an exciting opportunity for Insider. We now have the financial resources we need to continue growing. In addition, this is a team that goes back decades, and I am really excited to be working with them again.”
Cottingham and Cobb were partners at The Cobb Group, the media company they founded in 1984 and sold to Ziff-Davis in 1991.
In the late 1990s, Cottingham served as the first entrepreneur in residence at Chrysalis Ventures, co-founded by David Jones Jr. and Doug Cobb. It was at Chrysalis that Cottingham, Kim Spalding, now Insider Louisville CFO, and Jon Pyles, among others, came up with the business plan that would eventually become TechRepublic. Jones and Chrysalis were early and enthusiastic investors. TechRepublic was sold to The Gartner Group in 2001.
Jon Pyles previously served as an executive at The Cobb Group, TechRepublic and the NarrowCast Group; he has teamed up with Insider as both an investor and as the president of Insider Louisville’s marketing services group.
In addition to Cottingham and Pyles, the Insider executive team includes Sarah Kelley, vice president of content, who previously served as editor-in-chief for LEO Weekly, and Rachel Reeves, vice president of advertising, who previously sold digital advertising for Gannett.
When asked why he’s chosen to invest in Insider Louisville, Jones (who sits on the Jefferson County Board of Education) had this to say:
I love Louisville, and I invest my time and resources in things I believe can make our fine city even better. Lately my focus has been on the infrastructure that metro areas need to thrive: strong public schools, ample and accessible parks, innovative flourishing businesses, and good government.
And local media. Without vibrant, aggressive reporting of local news, citizens of modern metros can’t know enough to do their part in a democracy. There’s a lot of local griping, and even more local indifference, about “the decline of our media,” but I see things differently. At Insider Louisville and a few other organizations (Louisville Public Media, WDRB), I see the birth of a new era of powerful reporting and connection that will help Louisvillians make our city great.
Powerful reporting is indeed something Insider Louisville is committed to, as evidenced by the recent hiring of staff writers David Serchuk, previously of Forbes.com, and Joe Sonka, former news editor of LEO Weekly. Both reporters have proven to be an invaluable addition to our growing editorial staff.