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Thrillist logo.svg
Type of site
Founded2004; 17 years ago (2004)
Founder(s)Ben Lerer
Adam Rich
ParentGroup Nine Media

Thrillist is an online media website covering food, drink, travel and entertainment. The company was founded in 2004 and is based in New York City, United States. In October 2016, Thrillist merged with internet brands The Dodo, NowThis News, and Seeker[1] to form the digital media holding company Group Nine Media.[2]


Ben Lerer (2016)

Thrillist was founded in 2004 by Ben Lerer, son of media executive Kenneth Lerer, and Adam Rich, his friend from college. They graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003 and moved to New York City. Rich initially served as president, and Ben Robinson served as the Chief Creative Officer. Lerer and Rich sent the first Thrillist e-mail newsletter in 2005 to 600 friends. In early 2017, following layoffs of more than 25 employees, the Thrillist editorial, video, and distribution staffs announced plans to unionize with the Writers Guild of America East.[3] In response, Lerer refused to voluntarily recognize and held anti-union, captive audience meetings despite more than 85% of the editorial staff having signed union cards.[4] In July 2017, Thrillist hired entertainment industry veteran and former MTV and GoPro executive Ocean MacAdams to lead the digital brand.[5]

In late September 2018, after more than a year at the bargaining table and a staff walkout, the Thrillist Union and management reached a collective bargaining agreement.[6][7] The deal included a guaranteed 8.5% raise for all employees in its first year, as well as a salary floor of $50,000/year. "This represents a victory not just for the editorial employees of Thrillist, but for our entire industry," the Thrillist Union's bargaining committee said of the contract. "Through collective action we've made our workplace better and helped set a standard we hope other digital media shops can follow."[8]

Former business ventures[edit]

In May 2010, Thrillist acquired online men's fashion retailer JackThreads.[9]

In March 2011, TMG hired Eric Ashman as Chief Financial Officer from The Huffington Post.[10] In 2012, Ashman was charged with committing accounting fraud by the SEC while working as CFO at The Street and was "barred from acting as a director or officer of a public company for three years."[11]

In February 2012, Lerer announced the creation of the Thrillist Media Group (TMG), which combined Thrillist, deal site Thrillist Rewards, and JackThreads.[12] In August 2012, the media group led a $13 million fundraising round, from OAK, the Pilot Group, and Lerer Ventures.[13]

In March 2013, TMG discontinued Thrillist Rewards, citing slow growth, and also launched The Crosby Press, a site designed to market JackThreads products by providing content aimed at a target audience of men in their late teens to early twenties.[14] By May 2015, The Crosby Press had been closed by TMG.[15] In October 2013, TMG launched the tech site Supercompressor, which focused on gear and gadgets for a young male audience.[16] Supercompressor was discontinued as a site in September 2015.[17]

In September 2015, TMG announced it raised $54 million in total from European publisher Axel Springer, Oak Investment Partners and SBNY. As part of the transaction, Thrillist separated its businesses, with Thrillist Media group operating the media site, Thrillist, while the e-commerce company operated JackThreads.[18]

In October 2016, TMG merged with The Dodo, NowThis News and Seeker to form Group Nine Media. The newly formed holding company received a $100 million strategic investment from Discovery, Inc.[19]

In February 2017, JackThreads laid off most of its staff in preparation to "cease operations as an independent company." A number of customers subsequently experienced problems with returns, canceled orders, and items that never shipped.[20]


  1. ^ Alpert, Lukas I. (13 October 2016). "Discovery Invests in Digital-Media Outlets". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  2. ^ Alpert, Lukas I. "Discovery invests in digital-media outlets". MarketWatch. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  3. ^ Marans, Daniel (15 February 2017). "Thrillist Staff Announces Plan To Unionize". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  4. ^ Nolan, Hamilton. "The Dismal Thrillist Anti-Union Campaign". The Concourse. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  5. ^ McAdams, Ocean (12 July 2017). "Thrillist Taps GoPro, Current TV Veteran Ocean MacAdams as President (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Thrillist staff refuses to work as union contract negotiations sputter". Fast Company. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Thrillist Staff Ratify Contract With Writers Guild East". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Thrillist Union on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  9. ^ McMahan, Ty (13 May 2010). "Is Thrillist The Future of Media? – Speakeasy – WSJ". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  10. ^ Ante, Spencer E. (31 March 2011). "Chief Financial Officer of the Huffington Post to Leave". WSJ. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  11. ^ Savitz, Eric. "SEC Charges TheStreet, 3 Execs With Accounting Fraud". Forbes. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  12. ^ Del Ray, Jason (7 February 2012). "Thrillist Hires New Head of Sales, Forms Thrillist Media Group". AdAge. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  13. ^ Kafka, Peter. "Dude, Here's Your Series A: Ben Lerer's Thrillist Raises $13 Million". AllThingssD.
  14. ^ Del Rey, Jason (6 March 2013). "Thrillist Media Launches 'The Crosby Press' to Finally Solve Content + Commerce Puzzle". Advertising Age. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  15. ^ Foster, Tom (29 May 2015). "How Ben Lerer Succeeded Where So Many Others Failed". Inc. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  16. ^ Shields, Mike. "Thrillist Is Launching a Tech Publication". Adweek. Adweek. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Supercompressor (@supercompressor) | Twitter". Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Axel Springer buys minority stake in Thrillist". USA TODAY. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  19. ^ Alpert, Lukas I. "Discovery invests in digital-media outlets". MarketWatch. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Startup JackThreads Lays Off Most Staff and Puts Itself Up for Sale". Fortune. Retrieved 14 March 2017.

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