Robinhood’s media subsidiary, Sherwood Media, acquired Chartr, a free U.K.-based newsletter and media company that publishes visual, data-driven insights to an audience of over 500,000 people.
Going forward, Chartr stories will be integrated across Sherwood content, and the Chartr newsletter will retain its brand and continue publishing under the Sherwood umbrella. Chartr’s seven-person team will join Sherwood.
“Chartr’s brand of visual storytelling is a perfect compliment to what we’re building at Sherwood Media, and will help us supercharge our work on rethinking how news is delivered, which stories get told, and what audiences need right now,” Joshua Topolsky, editor-in-chief and president of Sherwood Media said in a statement.
Chartr covers business, tech, entertainment and lifestyle, and tells stories through data and visuals. Prior to the acquisition, it sold advertising and also offered custom, co-branded charts to companies. Robinhood reps were unable to provide details on what monetization plans were going forward.
“From our first conversation, it was clear that we shared the vision that Josh and Sherwood Media are building: a news org for a generation lost between the business broadsheets of yesteryear, and the short-form social media stories of today. We’re incredibly excited to build on Chartr’s progress with Sherwood, telling stories not just from a different perspective, but in an entirely new way,” David Crowther, founder of Chartr, said in a statement.
Sherwood Media is Robinhood’s media arm. Launched earlier this year, Sherwood houses Snacks, a financial and markets newsletter. According to head of sales James Denis, the company will launch a podcast, events, new newsletters and even a print magazine next year.
Robinhood has long been bullish on brand publishing and content. The company acquired financial newsletter MarketSnacks in 2019, and in 2023, announced the launch of Sherwood, an independent subsidiary run by Verge co-founder and media veteran Topolsky. Snacks currently has over 40 million subscribers, per a company rep.
The company also appointed Denis as head of sales for Sherwood, tasked with building out a monetization strategy for the company. Successful monetization efforts at brand-owned publications remain relatively rare. Sherwood plans to sell advertising and branded content opportunities, and Denis says it competes with the likes of the WSJ, Barron’s, and other similar premium publishers. “While the industry might be challenged overall, there is still an appetite for premium publishers,” he said in an interview earlier this year. Snacks says it has over 40 million subscribers.
Robinhood has touted Sherwood’s “independence” from day one, pointing out that the subsidiary is legally its own entity, and promising it will operate independently. The company also published earlier in the year a set of “editorial principles,” which offered hints on what independence will mean for the brand publication.
Meanwhile, whether to build or buy has been a hot topic for a few years as more brands have sought to “own” audiences and lower customer acquisition costs using content. Buying a media company can be a relatively low-risk bet, and can be a less expensive endeavor than building something in-house. It can also bring new capabilities in house, as appears to be the case with the Chartr deal. But there can also be issues around cultural mismatches, as with a number of acquisitions earlier this year.