Mic (media company)

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Type of site
Available in English
Founded 2011; 7 years ago (2011) (as PolicyMic)[1]
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Founder(s) Chris Altchek
Jake Horowitz
Website mic.com
Alexa rank Decrease 10,421 (February 2018)[2]
Registration Optional
Current status Active

Mic is an American internet and media company based in New York City. It caters to millennials.[3][4] In April 2014, the company reached 19 million unique monthly visitors[5] and has a higher composition of 18- to 34-year-old readers than any other millennial-focused news site, including BuzzFeed and Vice.[6] Mic received early attention for its on-the-ground coverage during the revolution in Tunisia.[7][8] The Hollywood Reporter remarked that Mic features "stories that intelligently cover serious issues important to young people".[9] The company was originally known as PolicyMic before it changed its name in 2014.


Mic was founded in 2011 as PolicyMic by Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz, two high school friends from New York.[7] Jim Clark, an investor and the founder of Netscape, has said that Altchek and Horowitz "remind me of my younger self".[5]

In 2014, PolicyMic announced they would re-brand their organization to target millennials, and renamed themselves as "Mic".[10] According to The New York Observer at the time, Mic had not made a profit and "is in the increasingly rare habit of actually paying each one of its contributors".[11] In March 2016, Mic acquired Hyper, as well as the developer, AntiHero.[12]

Mic's news director, Jared Keller, was fired in February 2015 after Gawker found various levels of plagiarism in 20 different passages of his work.[13]


Since 2018, Mic has produced video content covering social justice and progressive issues distributed through their own website and shared via social media. This content is supplimented with advertorial videos produced for clients.[14]

Writing for Forbes in 2014, Abe Brown described PolicyMic's style as hyperbolic, with a mix of serious analysis of issues and attention seeking listicles. Brown grouped the site with Upworthy, Buzzfeed, and BusinessInsider in contrast to more conventional news media such as The New York Times and Washington Post.[7]

Contributors to the site have included Senator Rand Paul,[15] former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,[16] Senator Kirsten Gillibrand[17] and radio host Daisy Rosario.[18] In December 2013, the White House worked with Mic on what was called an "Open Mic" competition to "make health care work for our generation".[19][20][21] Advisors to the company include David Shipley, executive editor of Bloomberg View and former op-ed page editor at The New York Times, and Jacob Lewis, the former managing editor of The New Yorker.[22] Allison Goldberg, senior vice president of Time Warner Investments, joined Mic’s board of directors in April 2017.[23]

Funding and revenue[edit]

Mic generates revenue through advertising known as "branded content". Digiday.com reported in November 2014 that "brands like Microsoft, Cole Haan, Cadillac and most recently GE have all tapped Mic in the last few months in the hopes of using its millennial expertise to reach the site's audience of educated 20-somethings".[24]

As of April 2017, the company had raised $52 million[23] in funding from investors, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lerer Ventures, Advancit Capital, Red Swan Ventures, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation,[25] Time Warner Investments, Kyu Collective and You & Mr Jones.[23] The company has not disclosed its valuation,[5] though The Wall Street Journal reported in April 2017 that it was “in the range of the ‘mid hundreds of millions’ of dollars.”[23]

The company laid-off several employees in late 2017, which preceded similar actions by other digital media companies.[14] Inconsistencies in tracking viewer numbers, changes in Facebook's algorithms and advertising rates, and an over-emphasis on search-friendly text stories were all cited as partial reasons.[14][26] The company shifted business models, with less content being produced over-all, and an emphasis on longer-form video journalism covering social justice and progressive causes. Business Insider describing the company as an example of the "pivot to video" common among digital media companies during that time.[14]


  1. ^ "PolicyMic.com WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved July 5, 2016. 
  2. ^ "mic.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved February 8, 2018. 
  3. ^ "Mic's plans to become a millennial media powerhouse". Fortune. 
  4. ^ "Mic: Media company for millennials". Fox5NY.com. 
  5. ^ a b c Stelter, Brian (April 28, 2014). "Another $10 million in funding for PolicyMic, a startup with shades of BuzzFeed and Upworthy". CNNMoney. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ Moses, Lucia (September 11, 2014). "Which millennial news sites are really attracting millennials?". Digiday. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Brown, Abram (May 28, 2014). "The Media Startup Getting 20-Year-Olds To Talk About More Than Cat Pictures". Forbes. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  8. ^ Dietz, David (January 19, 2011). "Snapshot of a New Tunisia: An Uneasy, But Hopeful Calm". PolicyMic. Retrieved January 19, 2015. 
  9. ^ Lewis, Hilary (April 17, 2014). "The Next Buzzfeed? 5 Hot New Websites". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  10. ^ "'Mic' Drop: PolicyMic Changes Its Name, Revamps Layout". Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  11. ^ Smith, Jack, IV (April 29, 2014). "PolicyMic Raises $10 Million To Keep Chasing The Millennial News Audience". The New York Observer. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Mic Acquires Video App Hyper". AdWeek. March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 9, 2016. 
  13. ^ Barr, Jeremy; Sterne, Peter (12 February 2015). "Mic fires news director after plagiarism investigation". Politico. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c d Shields, Mark (11 March 2018). "Digital media startup Mic says it's doing just fine despite talk of an industry Armageddon". Business Insider. Retrieved 6 June 2018. (Subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ Paul, Rand (March 13, 2013). "I Filibustered to Defend Millennials". PolicyMic. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  16. ^ Rice, Condoleezza (October 3, 2011). "America Tries its Best". PolicyMic. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  17. ^ Gillibrand, Kirsten (April 30, 2013). "Ending the Epidemic of Sexual Assault in the Military". IdentityMic. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Daisy Rosario". Futuro Media Group. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  19. ^ Bhuiyan, Johana (December 4, 2013). "White House taps PolicyMic to engage millennials on A.C.A." Capital New York. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  20. ^ Horowitz, Jake (December 12, 2013). "Here's What Millennials Think Obama Should Do to Make Health Care Better for Our Generation". PolicyMic. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  21. ^ OpenMic Editors (March 31, 2014). "The White House Responds to PolicyMic's Health Care Open Mic". PolicyMic. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  22. ^ Bilton, Ricardo (February 7, 2014). "Can PolicyMic become the voice of the millennials?". Digiday. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c d Shields, Mike (April 7, 2017). "Digital Publisher Mic Raises $21 Million in Series C Round". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved April 7, 2017. 
  24. ^ Bilton, Ricardo (November 25, 2014). "Inside Mic's millennial native ads pitch to brands". Digiday. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  25. ^ Ha, Anthony (October 15, 2013). "PolicyMic Raises $3M, Betting That Millennials Want Substantive News and Commentary". TechCrunch. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  26. ^ Mullin, Benjamin (11 January 2018). "How Many People Did That Story Reach? It Depends Who's Counting". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 

External links[edit]