Axios Launches Its First Software Product

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According to the WSJ, newsletter startup Axios is set to launch its first software product next month. The platform, called AxiosHQ, will help businesses draft internal newsletters in the “just-the-facts” style that Axios is known for.

Just The Facts, Ma’am

After raising $57 million in venture capital, Axios has had a big few years with high-profile political coverage and its partnership with HBO. Now, Axios wants a taste of software valuations.

Tool Specifics: AxiosHQ’s design mimics Axios’s straightforward newsletter design and features a “Smart Brevity” score that tells users how succinct their writing is.

  • Users of the software will get feedback on the grammar and have the ability to consult an independent team of editors at Axios to polish the writing.
  • Once the memo is drafted, senders can track engagement analytics like open rates.
  • Speculating here: extra points for starting briefs with “hope all is well” and closing with “tx.”

CEO James VandeHei has called the Axios style “exponentially more efficient” than traditional writing. With a starting price of roughly $10,000 per year, one would hope so.

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

Axios has been looking for additional revenue streams since it launched in 2017. Currently, Axios derives the majority of advertising revenue.

Several news companies have had success selling their internal software as a subscription service:

  • The Washington Post’s technology platform, Arc, is used by around 90 companies and nets the company between $10,000 and $150,000 per customer.
  • Chorus, Vox Media’s publishing platform, was developed by the company for internal use. Now it’s used by 350 companies and is a growing part of Vox’s operations.
  • Minute Media makes half of its income from licensing its own CMS software to other publishers.

The Takeaway: When you want more than just bullet point facts, you know what to read.