March 16, 2017 Last Updated 9:26 am

Four years in from initial launch, Quartz turns a profit for 2016

The Atlantic Media website Quartz said late yesterday that it had managed to turn a profit for 2016. Launched in September of 2012, the business website has managed to grow year-over-year revenue by more than 60 percent, according to the memo put out by editor Kevin J. Delaney and co-President and Publisher Jay Lauf.

Here is the memo:


Hello Quartz –

With the accounts for 2016 now finalized, we can officially confirm what we had earlier conveyed: Quartz was profitable last year, a remarkable accomplishment in only our fourth full year of operation.

Creating a quality digital publication that is sustainable over time is central to Quartz’s founding mission. We’ve all kept our heads down and executed against that approach—and today, amid industry hand-wringing about advertising and business models, we are among the rare digital media startups to have achieved profitability.

We’re especially proud of the way we’ve gotten here, which has been through continued focus on our users and their experience.

As you know, Apple named Quartz for iOS one of the top apps for 2016. We hit a new traffic milestone of 20 million unique visitors to qz.com. Our most prominent readers include senior government officials from around the world, CEOs from the Fortune 500 to top Silicon Valley startups, and celebrated artists and thinkers. We launched an innovative chart-sharing platform in Atlas; La Agenda, Quartz’s first non-English email product; as well as Quartzy, the weekly guide for our readers who want to live well in the global economy. Quartz took home general excellence awards from the Online News Association, the Global Editors Network, and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

We also increased year-over-year revenue by more than 60%, which is impressive considering we’d already grown 5x from what we made in 2013. And as the Quartz brand grows in Europe, Asia, and Africa, that expansion of revenue occurred around the globe, not just in the US. Hundreds of blue-chip brands now choose Quartz as a prime vehicle for their marketing messages.

But the fact is, we have only just begun. The vision for Quartz is to build the guide to the global economy for business people everywhere. Especially for those who are excited by change. We’ve gone a long way toward building the foundation for that vision, but there is still much to accomplish. There are millions of people we still have not reached, continents left to engage. There are expressions of our brand yet to build in various media and for various devices. Together, we will build those things and deliver Quartz from a successful insurgent to one of the most important media brands in the world.

To that end, we’re targeting significantly higher revenue and profits for 2017, while continuing the pace of investment. We’re adding journalists and sales and marketing professionals around the world, as well as designers and developers in New York. We’re committed to continuous product reinvention to serve readers on mobile devices better and deliver more creative and engaging advertisements than anyone else. We’ve launched a bot studio and are building a research business helping companies get traction with artificial intelligence. Other projects are underway that will extend Quartz to new major platforms. All the while, we’ll continue to set the bar high for smart business journalism that works on phones.

The values that got us here remain as powerful as ever: boldness and creativity at every decision point, dedication to quality in everything we do from content and design to serving our advertiser clients and in our internal interactions, taking a truly global view and, of course, all of it in service to the readers who count on us every day to make them smarter and more effective.

If we apply those core values to the unceasing inventiveness that is Quartz, we can expect many more successful years ahead. Congratulations on what you’ve built so far!

Best,

Jay and Kevin/

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