clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Verge Co-Founder Josh Topolsky Is Raising Money to Launch a Media Startup

He wants to launch a prestige digital media operation.

Hutton Supancic / Getty

Joshua Topolsky, co-founding editor of our Vox Media sister site* The Verge and most recently head of digital at Bloomberg, is working on a new digital media project that will cover a broad range of topics including politics, culture and business.

The holding company name is Independent Media (for which Topolsky has already claimed a URL) and the new site, which doesn’t have a name yet, will be supported by ad partnerships, sources told Re/code. Topolsky is also said to be exploring commerce and events businesses as well.

According to sources, Topolsky aims for the new business to be akin to luxury lifestyle brand Monocle, which publishes a magazine 10 times a year as well as producing a website, a radio show and events. The editor wants to build an audience with the wallet and sensibility of old media prestige brands like the New Yorker or Vanity Fair, they say.

Topolsky is in the middle of raising a $5 million to $10 million initial round of funding, and he has talked with a range of media and tech investors, including Marc Andreessen and Interview Magazine owner Peter Brant. Code and Theory, the creative agency that helped with Engadget’s 2009 redesign, 2011 launch of The Verge and Bloomberg’s redesign early last year (when Topolsky edited those websites), is expected to be involved. Neither Code and Theory nor Brant replied to requests for comment. Andreessen could not be immediately reached for a response.

He has also approached well-regarded BuzzFeed News executive editor Shani Hilton and Katie Drummond, who was recently appointed Gizmodo editor in chief, though both declined to join. Hilton and Drummond declined to comment.

Topolsky started The Verge in 2011, founding the Vox Media site with a group of staffers he brought over from Engadget. He left in the summer of 2014 to join Bloomberg as its digital editor, a stint that lasted less than a year.

Topolsky left the company a little more than half a year after Mike Bloomberg returned to run his namesake firm. The two reportedly did not get along. In a meeting, the former New York City mayor suggested that Bloomberg media properties didn’t need to have websites. Topolsky responded sarcastically, and the relationship between the two then worsened “to the point that both decided it was better if Mr. Topolsky left,” according to a report in the New York Times.

His exit came amid a larger restructuring in Bloomberg’s media business that included laying off dozens of journalists and the departure of Bloomberg Businessweek Editor Josh Tyrangiel.

After leaving Bloomberg, Topolsky created his own interview podcast, “Tomorrow With Joshua Topolsky.”

* Vox Media now owns both Re/code and The Verge.

Update: Topolsky subtweeted our story shortly after it went live:

And on Thursday morning he sent over the following text for comment: “If I were to start something new, it certainly wouldn’t be a slow luxury lifestyle brand. I’m far too curious about the world to do anything so limited.”

Check out Re/code’s latest podcast, “Too Embarrassed to Ask.”

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.