Mark Little leaves Storyful after turning an Irish start-up into a global media brand

26 Jun 2015

The Storyful offices yesterday (via Facebook)

After founding Storyful five years ago and selling it just over a year ago to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for €18m Mark Little is off to pastures new.

“Storyful was an unlikely story from the beginning. I founded the company because I wanted to prove that the eternal values of quality journalism mattered more than ever in the age of social media,” Little wrote in his blog.

“And I was determined to prove that the very best journalism is still a great business model.

“It was a naïve idea. But Storyful made naïvete work. Our early journey was exhilarating, exhausting, relentless and sometimes dispiriting. When we first pitched our product, I could see the eyes of some potential clients glaze over as they struggled to understand our relevance. So the global success of our company is the sweetest feeling.”

Little had an epiphany in 2010 about the future of journalism and left a lucrative and successful career at RTE where he had been Washington correspondent for the broadcaster.

The interesting thing about Storyful was the number of pivots it made in its short history, beginning as a kind of online news agency – a Reuters of the digital age – before settling on a winning formula of discovering and validating accurate and genuine video online.

The strategy worked and News Corp came calling, acquiring Storyful for €18m in December 2013.

The company has since expanded from 30 people at the time of the acquisition to almost 90 people in Dublin, New York, London, Hong Kong, Atlanta and Sydney.

The videos Storyful manage generate 150m views per month on YouTube and millions more on platforms as far afield as China.

Little said that he is leaving Storyful in the safe hands of Storyful’s talented CEO Rahul Chopra.

“I’m leaving Storyful with no absolute certainty about what I’m doing next,” Little said.

“But that’s a pretty wonderful feeling. Back in 2010, there was only one opportunity that excited me. Today, in a golden age of storytelling, the options are endless. I’m more passionate than ever about social journalism, media innovation and the challenges and opportunities that emerge from a revolutionary age.

“I’m exhilarated by what might come next. But as I look back, I am also profoundly grateful today to all the idealists who made Storyful a reality.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years