Nick Nigam

4 November 2018

2 min read


Why we invested in Spatial

By Nick Nigam

2 min read

Over a decade ago, Jeff Zucker, who was then chairman of NBC Universal, famously said he was resistant to moving too aggressively online for fear of trading “analog dollars for digital dimes.” Fast forward to today, and the vast majority of digital content companies find themselves in exactly this predicament -- scrambling for scraps in a digital advertising landscape dominated by just a few large players.

What’s worse, this increasingly desperate situation has forced many online media companies to get more and more aggressive with their advertising approaches, which results in consumer experiences that are -- to put it kindly -- sub-optimal.

At Samsung NEXT, we’ve spent the past 12-18 months looking for a company or platform that could forge a different path, one which would diversify publisher revenue streams beyond advertising and which would give consumers more control over their online advertising experience.

We’re thrilled to announce that we believe we have found just such a company in our newest investment, Scroll.

Scroll’s founders have a rare combination of expertise in digital publishing, content, subscriptions, and data architecture. Scroll CEO Tony Haile understands the pain points of publishers via his time as founding CEO of Chartbeat, Sachin Doshi is a content expert from serving as VP of Content at Spotify, and Kushal Dave has architected an impressive product that was informed by his time as head of engineering at Foursquare.

The product is seamless, well-architected, and has a great roadmap to satisfy both consumers and publishers.

On the consumer side, Scroll partners with digital media organizations to create a user experience that eliminates intrusive ads and enables consumers to control their own data. When subscribers visit a Scroll partner, the platform recognizes they are part of the Scroll network and delivers an experience purely designed for them.

Meanwhile for publishers, the average revenue lift over what they would have made from advertising to Scroll subscribers is greater than 40 percent. As a result, Scroll is coming to market in partnership with digital publishers -- many of whom are investors -- which provides the company with a far more reliable path to building a sustainable business.

We hope that Scroll will be the first of many investments we make in companies driving digital business models that go beyond advertising; which treat the consumer as the customer, not the product; and which give the consumer more control of their data, their attention, and their time.

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