By Maxime Cordier

Purch is a US based digital company which has been increasingly gaining attention lately due to an injection of cash from investors. ADTEKR focuses on Purch for the latest Spotlight article to discover why the company is so valuable.

In the advertising industry, original business models are the rule rather the exception, as the $135 million recently raised by Purch demonstrates. As a business at the cross-roads of traditional advertising, e-commerce, and digital advertising, Purch’s growth shows no signs of slowing.

What does Purch do?

Purch combines digital advertising and e-commerce through the portfolio of websites it owns and operates. These sites, most of which are product review sites, connect buyers to sellers using a data-led platform which makes product information more digestible for consumers, whilst allowing sellers to advertise their products to a large audience.

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By Kirk Falconer

Purch, a U.S. integrated digital content and commerce company, has secured US$135 million in a Series C private equity and debt financing round led by Canso Investment Counsel, a Canadian investment management firm with digital and media holdings. RBC Capital Markets acted as the placement agent for the financing. Purch, which was founded in 2003, said the proceeds of the deal will be used for strategic acquisitions to support the company’s organic growth. Headquartered in Ogden, Utah, Purch is also backed by U.S. venture capital firms ABS Capital Partners,Highway 12 Ventures and other investors. Canso is based in Richmond Hill, Ontario.


Purch Closes $135 Million Investment to Expand Commerce-Driven Digital Publishing Model

Canso Backs Largest Technology Publisher’s Vision for Connecting Content & Commerce

NEW YORK, June 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Purch, a digital content and commerce company, today announced it has raised $135 million in a Series C private equity and debt financing round led by Canso Investment Counsel, a Canadian portfolio manager with extensive digital and media holdings. As the largest tech publisher in the U.S., with more than 100 million monthly unique visitors, Purch is fueling over $1 billion in commerce transaction annually by connecting in-market buyers with more than 7,000 marketers and sellers across 1,000+ product categories. The funding will be used for strategic acquisitions to accelerate the company’s already strong organic growth and to continue Purch’s disruption of the digital publishing model by combining content and commerce to advise, entertain, and enable consumers’ purchases.

“Purch’s model is shaping the future of digital publishing and our consistent profitability and growth is an affirmation that it’s working for consumers, marketers, and investors. This investment is an opportunity to further accelerate this inherent growth and the strategic development of our content and commerce platform,” said Greg Mason, CEO, Purch. “Purch brands are laser-focused on making buying decisions easy for consumers and businesses through expert product analysis, user opinions, and convenient purchase options. This focus has made Purch the destination for not only decision-making, but the purchase itself, which allows us to pull ahead of other tech publishers in scale, influence, and value delivered to marketers.”

Purch has tripled in size over the past two years and has been profitable since 2012. It will use the funds solely for acquisitions and growth activities and does not need the capital to fund operations. The company will also expand coverage on its owned and operated sites, including Top Ten Reviews, Tom’s Guide, Tom’s Hardware, and Live Science, to 1,400 product categories.

“The more we looked at Purch, the more we liked what we saw,” said John Carswell, Chief Investment Officer of Canso. “We believe that quality content is critical to the Internet and the future of e-commerce. Purch has done an amazing job at figuring out how to create and monetize content and we are fully confident that the team can extend this to build an even more valuable business.”

Purch’s digital content, produced through its expert editorial staff and peer reviews from its community of ten million active members, helps millions make smarter purchases. Its content-commerce combination offers inherent value to brands seeking effective ways to connect with serious buyers. To find out more about Purch, visit, or follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

RBC Capital Markets acted as exclusive placement agent for the financing.

About Purch
Purch is a portfolio of digital brands that helps make buying decisions easy for 100 million consumers and businesses monthly. Its respected sites such as Top Ten Reviews, Tom’s Guide, Tom’s Hardware, and Live Science natively integrate commerce and content in more than 1000 product categories so consumers can make better choices before, during, and after an important purchase. The company helps marketers achieve their branding and performance objectives in a high-quality, brand-safe context. Its sites connect in-market shoppers with more than 7,000 marketers and sellers, driving industry-leading conversion rates and $1 billion in commerce transactions annually. Purch is a high-growth, privately held company with more than 350 employees and offices across the U.S. and Europe. For more information on Purch, visit or follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

About Canso
Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. is an independently operated employee owned investment management firm based in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Founded in 1997 Canso manages total assets in excess of $16 billion on behalf of Canadian institutional and private clients. For more information on Canso visit

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By Teresa Novellino

Purch, which just announced an unusually large round of funding for its digital content site, will not be using it to behave like other media companies.

Instead the Ogden, Utah, and New York City-based company is planning to use the $135 million Series C round announced Tuesday for further growth in what it sees as a unique mix of content and e-commerce, with technology product reviews on its network of sites including Mobile Nation, Top Ten Reviews, Tom’s Guide and Live Science, inspiring purchases directly from those same sites.

“We see ourselves as a new style of publisher in many respects,” Purch chief executive officer Greg Mason told me in a phone interview Tuesday. “When we talk about our No. 1 position in the tech vertical, we don’t necessarily see ourselves as the same as [tech product review and news site] CNET, but more like a Yelp or a TripAdvisor especially in respect to to how we marry content, commerce and community.”

With Mason (an alum of CNET, WebMd and ZiffDavis) at the helm, the company has steered itself from being more of a traditional product review site to one that has a very direct link to e-commerce.

It generates about 55 percent of its $100-million-plus revenue it expects this year from e-commerce (including its own sites), lead generation and performance marketing, and 45 percent on advertising.

While its traditional advertising revenues have gone up 70 percent year to date in 2015, Mason says, he prefers to keep its revenue streams diverse and not be “reliant on direct sold advertising, because of the inefficiency of the marketplace and hyper-competitive nature of the market.”

Purch’s series C round, led by Canadian portfolio group Canso Investment Counsel, which has extensive digital and media holdings, brings Purch’s total funding to $175.5 million.

It comes at a time when traditional publishers are increasingly looking to e-commerce to supplement advertising revenues as readers continue to migrate to print. For example, magazine publisher Condé Nast (which like our parent company American City Business Journals is owned by Advance Publications) plans to roll out shopping platforms across several of its magazines and is beginning that effort this fall by transforming its fashion site Style.Com from an editorial site into an e-commerce marketplace.

Purch is looking to expand coverage on its owned and operated sites to 1,400 product categories, and will look at areas adjacent to its current PC or mobile tech coverage, including possibly health tech or medical tech, as well as merchandise related to the Internet of Things, Mason says.

“We really try to identify consumer purchase categories that people want or need to do a lot of research on,” he says.

The company, which operates e-commerce sites like Herman Street, is renaming those sites “Purch Marketplace.” Mason says its editorial reviews maintain independence from the e-commerce side of the business and that it is not looking to compete with the likes of Amazon as a retailer. Instead, it focuses on selling virtual inventory — items like software — that doesn’t require physical warehouses.

The company will use the funding in part for acquisitions and while Mason wasn’t naming company names, he said that possibilities include platforms that could be a technology solution to help systematize and scale its underlying business, or perhaps an e-commerce platform that could leverage its organic audience.

Purch employs 380 people: most are in Ogden, but there are about 100 at its co-headquarters in New York’s Flatiron District. Primarily because of acquisitions over the years, the remaining staff is spread across offices in Boston, Los Angeles, Paris, and Grenoble, France.

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By Ricardo Bilton

Many publishers are trying their hand at ecommerce, but few have run as far with it as Purch.

The tech site network, whose stable of 20 tech brands includes Top Ten Reviews, Live Science, and Tom’s Guide, has made commerce a key part of it its business over the past few years. Roughly fifty-five percent of the $100 million it pulled in last year came from its commerce business, which includes lead generation and performance marketing, while the rest of its business is built around advertising.

The commerce approach makes sense for sites like Tom’s Hardware, which reviews computer components, game consoles and smartphones. A recent review of a new Intel solid-state drive, to use one example, is accompanied by a “buy now” button that links to its product listing on If a reader ends up buying the drive, Purch gets a small slice of that transaction.

“Commerce is the type of thing publishers have to consider if they want to survive. That’s the bottom line,” said Purch CEO Greg Mason. The site, founded in 2003, has flown under the radar despite the fact that, at 51.4 million monthly unique visitors, it’s larger than the likes of Ziff Davis, CNET, AOL Tech and The Verge, according to comScore.

That scale, coupled with its heavy commerce focus, has made Purch an attractive target for investors. Purch said on Tuesday that it’s raised $135 million in venture funding, twice the size of recent rounds for Vox Media, Refinery 29 and BuzzFeed. That adds to the $40.5 million it raised previously.

Purch’s reliance on commerce bucks makes it a rare exception among publishers, most of which still rely on advertising to make the vast majority of their money. But others have also seen the potential. Gawker’s commerce business, which includes affiliate links within articles and daily deals posts, was ten percent of the company’s overall revenue . The likes of Thought Catalog, IDG and Gear Patrol have ventured into commerce while Wirecutter and Thrillist have built their entire business around marrying reviews and purchases.

But Purch’s Mason said that commerce doesn’t come naturally to most publishers. The likes of The Verge and Engadget may cover tech, but they do so the top of the funnel, largely from the news lens. Purch, in contrast, has step up shop at the bottom of the funnel, where readers are closest to actually making purchases, not just idly reading about them. “If you as a publisher are attracting a consumer who has an intent to take action you’re in a much better position to monetize your audience,” he said.

While 90 percent of Purch’s commerce revenue comes from helping facilitate purchases elsewhere, it’s also pushed into selling products directly., one of its sites, sells items such as telescopes, microscopes and Star Trek memorabiliadirectly to readers, giving the company a much larger chunk of each transaction. Purch has also sold directly sold various accounting, cloud and finance software as well

“There are smart ways and not-so-smart ways to do this,” Mason said. “The not-so-smart way is to try to compete with Amazon or other mainline retailer. We try to be more of a specialty retail environment.”

Still, not everyone is convinced that the content and commerce model really has legs in the long run.

“There’s no scale there,” said Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali. “You read an article and maybe you buy one of the adjacent items you see, and then the site gets a few cents on the dollar for every item they sell?   Content doesn’t reduce your customer acquisition costs unfortunately so it’s best to monetize content through advertising.”

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By James Hercher

Commerce-focused publisher Purch has raised a big $135 million round, money it aims to spend on potential media acquisitions outside its established B2C and B2B tech verticals.

Some of the money will also support an ad tech expansion, including heightened analytics capabilities.

“Investors don’t like money in the bank,” said CEO Greg Mason. “We want to be thoughtful … but there’s a lot of urgency to put the money to use.”

The round was led by led by Canadian private equity firm Canso Investment Counsel and brings Purch’s total funding to $175.5 million. It comes about a year after Purch rebranded from TechMedia Network in the wake of its acquisition of BuyerZone, a deal that marked its formal entry into the lead generation space.

Purch pulls just over half its revenue from commerce, including affiliate links, direct ecommerce, or referral and lead-generation deals. That money is about evenly split between B2B and B2C users.

Mason says the company is on a $100 million run rate for 2015.

“There’s considerable demand from small business decision makers for high-quality review content,” he said.Mason chalked up Purch’s increased B2B focus to a “massive migration” to cloud-based services that has enabled automation of new business functions and created competition for legacy players like ADP. Across HR, CRM, finances and accounting services, there has been a push to outsource what were once major internal operations for mid-sized companies.

“It’s very attractive for us to participate in those categories,” he said.

Besides the direct revenue benefits, the company’s B2B focus also provides a higher level of intent targeting to marketers, according to Mason. The publications in Purch’s stable, including AnandTech, Tom’s Hardware, Top Ten Reviews and LiveScience, have a focus on product reviews, meaning it can offer ad opportunities farther down the consumer purchase funnel.

Earlier this year Purch ramped up its programmatic ad sales efforts, integrating with multiple SSPs and experimenting with dynamic price floors on auctions it hosts internally. Mason said the project has had “a great effect on CPMs for that inventory.”

Dynamic price floors let publishers boost yield by setting minimum bid amounts for certain buyers. Publishers see them as a way to appropriately value their audiences, while the buy side often views them as artificially inflated demand.

“We don’t want to be an ad tech company, per se,” Mason said, “but our objective is to … monetize [our audience] as best we can, and this fits squarely into that.”

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