It’s a sad day when a parent has to watch his or her kids spread their wings and leave the nest. Ben Lerer must be feeling something similar to that.
In an exclusive interview with Re/code, Lerer, CEO of Thrillist and JackThreads, announced that the two brands would be officially severing ties and operating as individual entities going forward. Rather than some kind of hostile break, Lerer said that the move was decided on after both Thrillist and JackThreads grew to encompass different brand goals.
“At a certain point, these businesses have each become living, breathing creatures and to share a source of food is not the most productive,” Lerer told Re/code.
Nudging Lerer in the direction to split the brands was a round of funding that netted Thrillist and JackThreads a combined $54 million. German publisher Axel Springer acquired a minority stake in Thrillist, while Oak Investment Partners officially opened up another round of funding for JackThreads.
“The main reason why we invested in [Thrillist] is the founder, Ben Lerer,” Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, told CNBC. “He has convinced us, and we are very much focused on people when we make decisions.”
With Lerer staying at Thrillist, control of JackThreads will pass into the hands of Mark Walker, current head of commerce at Thrillist. However, while the two brands are becoming more organizationally distant, they still plan on sharing office space in Manhattan and signing mutually beneficial data-sharing and marketing contracts with third parties. To Lerer, though, the best thing for both entities over the next few years is to strike out on their own.