Former Jukin Executives Acquire LOST iN, Launch Travel Media Site

Former Jukin Executives Acquire LOST iN, Launch Travel Media Site

After selling viral social-video site Jukin Media in 2021, founders Mike and Jon Skogmo and colleague Anton Reut had time to think, and travel, and come up with their next company. Their answer: travel-media site LOST iN, built on an existing publisher and focused on disrupting the travel media business with content from prominent online travel creators.

The company has raised a $4 million seed round, a substantial number amid the chilly environment the past couple of years for venture capital as high interest rates have led investors to put their money in lower-risk alternatives. LOST iN will target younger, online-savvy travelers looking for “premium economy” opportunities that provide adventure but some comfort too, and at a reasonable price.

In buying the 10-year-old LOST iN travel publisher, the new owners have acquired guidebooks for 25 countries that are distributed in about 50. The reshaped company will also partner with established travel-focused creators to generate a range of additional material to further build out the service.

“With Jukin we learned how to build and monetize massive audiences, and we’ll leverage those learnings to focus on travel, a category that’s ripe for disruption and that attracts an affluent, highly desirable consumer,” said LOST iN CEO Jon Skogmo, who was also Jukin’s founder and CEO. “The acquisition of the LOST iN guidebooks business gives us a strong direct-to-consumer element to pair alongside the ad-supported business that we’ll build around digital video, and we’ll continue to diversify around events, memberships, and other initiatives that will add value for our community.”

Brother Mike Skogmo will again be chief marketing officer, as at Jukin. Ruet will be chief operating officer.

Reut said that despite the travel industry’s growth and massive size, it has continued to struggle “to find a way to connect with digital-native audiences. LOST iN will be the solution for travel enthusiasts to get entertaining and informative travel content, and for advertisers looking to reach today’s traveler. It is truly a win-win-win for audiences, creators, and advertisers.”

Jukin, based in Culver City, Calif., was one of the pioneers of the Los Angeles online-media scene. It took a different approach from such now long-gone L.A. video services as Machinima and Maker Studios. Rather than rely on work by a stable of associated video creators, Jukin focused on quickly finding and licensing social video clips from across the web as they were becoming viral, then pushing the clips to their own sites such as Fail Army.

Once the clips were licensed (Jukin had 70,000 in its library), the company further pushed their virality, but it also repackaged the clips for use on traditional television shows, branded content and beyond. The company also produced multiple clip shows of its own, effectively updating the old America’s Funniest Home Videos format for a new media era.

The company sold for an undisclosed sum reported to be in nine figures to Reader’s Digest parent company Trusted Media Brands.

The new company’s $4 million seed round was led by MaC Venture Capital with investment from BDMI, Pitbull Ventures, Hawke Media founder Erik Huberman, Kevin Gould of Kombo Ventures, and Matthew Rutler.

Several notable long-time LA media scene contemporaries also chipped in, including Pocket.Watch founder Chris Williams and Fullscreen founder George Strompolos, as well as David Alpert, founder of Skybound Entertainment, the company behind The Walking Dead and Invincible, and Richard Wolpert, a pioneering tech and entertainment entrepreneur and executive and former head of Disney Online.

MaC Managing General Partner Marlon Nichols pointed to the success and experience the trio of former Jukin executives bring to LOST iN, and expectations that they can have similar success in the more focused travel-media sector.

“Their last venture, Jukin Media, was a truly innovative business, and now they’re poised to revamp a fragmented travel media space with few trusted voices and thousands of creators and influencers creating content independently,” Nichols said. “This team has the expertise to identify and partner with talented creators to become an indispensable part of the travel enthusiast’s media diet.”

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