MillionaireMatch – Skift: The Media Tech Company That's Here to Stay

Press Release ( - LOS ANGELES - Aug 15, 2018 - ​Working in the world of media is still respected and admired. It’s a thankless and tireless job, that is often underpaid. There have been many changes in the industry including an emergence of digital media companies like Blavity that recently claimed a $6.5 million funding round. Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of Skift, is proving that media companies are still needed. With his focus on the travel industry and creating events that bring thought leaders together, Ali is capitalizing on storytelling in an educational sense.

Ali was born in the UK, and raised in North India. In his early years, he set his path on becoming an engineer which was expected by his parents. But he soon jumped into the deep end of journalism.  

Skift is the largest intelligence platform in travel, providing media, insights and marketing to all sectors of the world’s largest industry. Ali launched Skift in 2012, just after meeting his cofounder, James Clampet, the year before. Before Skift, Ali founded the company, PaidContent which was backed by Greycroft Partners. As the company grew, Ali acquired Gadling.

During the early years of Skift, Ali faced a time when cash flow was low. “I thought we were done,” Ali said. “Doing startups is crazy. Doing a media startup is doubly crazy,” he admitted. Six years later, Skift is thriving with high-level subscriptions that cost between $35k to $50k a year for companies or $2k to $5k for individuals. The subscription offers detailed information about the travel industry through print, podcasts, research and events. “The conferences became a big business for us,” Ali said. Recently, the category of dining was added.

In 2008, Ali sold the company to The Guardian rumored at $30 million. This was the deal that almost didn’t happen. Ali had signed a term sheet with a venture capital firm, but after getting an offer from The Guardian, he paid his way out of the deal. It was a painful experience. After the deal was done, Ali took off to travel the world for two years.

Ali fully believes that this is a great time to be a media entrepreneur. With low cost, cheap tools to create stories and multiple channels to distribute your message, it’s easy to jump in head first. “Every sector there is already a ton of people in it. What’s your different point of view or spin on it that you can build a brand around? Building a brand in media is not a science or formula for it,” Ali offered.

Well, it seems like Ali is successful with the formula he is using. Conferences are already lined up through 2019 in London and Singapore and one later this year in New York City. Past events have had over 1000 attendees. With adding a focus on the restaurant industry, the number may increase. We look forward to watching the growing success of Ali’s media tech company.

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CATEGORIES : Business Technology


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