This month we’re handing the reins of our Instagram account over to J Smilanic, a Colorado native living in Asheville, North Carolina. J prefers to spend his time hiking and exploring any mountains but particularly those near his home base in Western North Carolina.“I was born and raised in Palmer Lake, Colorado,” J says, “but I really love it here in Asheville. Mostly it’s the people, followed closely by the mountains, food, beer and the weather.”One look at J’s Instagram reveals a plethora of top notch landscape photography from Western North Carolina and few images from out West.He says his favorite area to explore close to home is the Roan Highlands but hopes to spend some time shooting in the Pacific Northwest as soon as possible. “I feel very drawn to the temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “I have not visited but I would gladly spend the rest of my life exploring out there.”Sunset over Lake Jocassee in upstate SC, as seen from Jump Off Rock.Stay tuned to the Blue Ridge Outdoors Instagram account this week as we share more of J’s stunning photos!
Minute Media has announced $17m (£12.6m) of investment from its latest round of funding from new investors, including Goldman Sachs and Vintage Investment Partners as well as existing investors including Battery Ventures, Dawn Capital and Qumra Capital. The US-based Minute Media has now raised a total of $77m (£57m) in investment to date. Minute Media – which provides user-generated sports and esports articles and video content that gets distributed by sports brands and Minute Media’s own websites which attract upwards of 80 million unique users each month while also offering content in 12 different languages.Minute Media operates three sports media sites, 90min, the football-focused site is ‘the world’s leading global football publisher’. 12up, which focuses on US sports and the pop culture that surrounds it. While DBLTAP is their esports-focused site, offering content from fans and experts.Asaf Peled, Founder and CEO, Minute Media had this to say: “Unlike traditional players in our industry, our tech-driven approach to publishing has been key to our growth during such challenging times in digital media. We are clearly cemented at the intersection of platforms, publishers and communities. The new funding enables us to leverage this differentiated approach to efficiently scale into new markets and content verticals”.The company’s revenue increased 130% from 2016 to 2017 driven by ‘a substantial investment into technology diversification’ along with the launch of several mobile web product solutions. Aaron Siegel, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, spoke about their investment: “The team at Minute Media is rewriting the playbook for sports media, Their focus on product, fan empowerment and global scale are key differentiating ingredients in the sector. We look forward to being a part of the continued growth.”Speaking to Esports Insider, Duncan McMonagle, SVP and GM of esports at Minute Media, added “We already produce localised content in 12 languages for our football brand 90min so the additional funding will enable us to focus on new markets such as China, and it also provides an opportunity to continue to develop and innovate our technology platform for our own brands as well as partners.” speaking about esports specifically he added ” Esports is already a significant and growing contributor to the Minute Media audience and revenue, and we are bullish on the impact that our fan-centric approach combined with official rights holder partnerships will have on the quality and breadth of content for esports audiences”Esports Insider says: Minute Media is clearly doing well and this latest round of investment shows the faith investors have in their service. From an esports perspective, DBLTAP uses the same fan-driven content plus esports experts to create content. With a number of sites starting to cover esports, DBLTAP has an opportunity make a name for itself in this growing field.