EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Mueller, a longtime member of the executive team at The Onion, is joining crowd-sourced publishing firm Inkshares as its chief operating officer.
Mueller spent eight years at the satire brand, helping it to grow from a small, newspaper-focused outfit to a digital powerhouse. Univision bought a controlling 40% stake in The Onion in 2016, reportedly paying $200 million, before later exiting the business.
“Kurt is the rare breed of seasoned operator as much at home in the traditional markets as the digital realm,” said Inkshares cofounder and CEO Adam Gomolin. “He understands creative companies, and how to help disruptive creative companies reach venture scale. We’ve built Inkshares as the place for serious writers on the internet and Kurt is going to be a big part of cementing that position.”
Inkshares has adaptations of its book titles in development with Amazon, Showtime, Warner Bros, Alcon, Stampede, PlatformOne, Endeavor Content and other studios and networks.
The company’s investors include Indicator Ventures, Ingram Ventures, Stampede Ventures founder and former WB film head Greg Silverman, PictureStart founder and former Lionsgate co-head of film Erik Feig as well as angels investors from the agency, producing and publishing sectors.
“What the Inkshares team has created over the past few years is incredible,” Mueller said. “Adam and the team like to say that Hollywood runs on novels written by talented, everyday people—insurance salespeople like Tom Clancy. They’ve built a community for those serious literary creatives and an algorithm in Story Machine that focuses their attention on stories that matter. That’s why they’re outselling the major houses and why each story sells to a top studio with Oscar and Emmy winning elements. Now it’s time to take that base and grow it. I’m excited to get to work.”
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