Check out the pitch deck that helped a pair of media veterans raise $5.7 million to launch climate-focused media startup The Cool Down

Anna Robertson
  • Media veterans Dave Finocchio and Anna Robertson have launched a digital media startup.
  • The Cool Down aims to bring accessible climate-focused content to a more mainstream audience.
  • Upfront Ventures led a recent $5.7 million seed round in the company.

US-based startup The Cool Down this week said it had raised a $5.7 million seed round to help launch its new climate-focused media and commerce company.

Led by the cofounder and CEO of sports media site Bleacher Report Dave Finocchio and longtime ABC News producer and executive Anna Robertson, The Cool Down is aiming to reach a mainstream American audience by making the topic of climate more accessible and less focused on often-politicized doom and gloom.

Articles currently running on The Cool Down’s website include “5 sustainable food swaps to make for your health and the planet,” “Plant thought to have gone extinct 40+ years ago found in Ecuador,” and “What is the circular economy? Here’s how we can return to the natural cycle humans disrupted.”

The Cool Down intends to use a similar approach that helped The Bleacher Report grow into a mainstream sports-media brand: leaning on entertaining creators and formats that are shareable across social channels and building a community that people want to engage with. 

“One of the reasons I got really excited about doing this is that I could not help but notice the similarities in where digital climate content is today and where digital sports content was at when I started Bleacher Report —it was very fragmented and difficult for consumers to get valuable information.” said Finocchio. “Our team is doing a lot of hard work for the users in distilling down complex topics and giving them actionable advice or feedback about what they can do about things.”

Finocchio said he began thinking about the project around two years ago and was introduced to Robertson by a mutual contact early last year. Both members of the “My Climate Journey” podcast’s Slack community, the pair soon built a rapport and by this January, they had begun working on the project full-time. It currently has around 10 staffers.

The Cool Down initially plans to make money through affiliate marketing, generating revenue from the environmentally friendly products its writers recommend to readers. Next year, the aim is to launch its own ecommerce marketplace. At this stage, the company doesn’t intend to sell advertising or paid-for subscriptions.

The Cool Down’s seed round was led by Upfront Ventures and included participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Jetstream, Niche Capital, Swingbridge. The Ringer founder Bill Simmons and Credo Beauty CEO Dawn Dobras, and Bonaroo Cofounders Rick Farman and Richard Goodstone were among the angel investors who also participated.

Check out the key slides from The Cool Down’s investor pitch deck below:

The Cool Down Cofounder Anna Robertson says the company wants to grow into a mainstream brand by reaching all Americans, not just those who are “already on board” with the climate topic.

The Cool Down

The Cool Down is building an ecommerce hub to help consumers buy more sustainable items, from induction stove tops to electric vehicles.

The Cool Down

The Cool Down’s founders said this quote from John Doerr, the chairman of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, highlights the opportunity for their company.

The Cool Down

Finocchio said the climate movement in the US has mostly been driven by early adopters so far. But that’s soon to become the “early majority,” he said.

The Cool Down

“Unfortunately it’s being pushed along by more extreme weather but it’s also been pushed along by the fact that the technology has come along so far with so many great products,” Finocchio added.

The Cool Down’s founding team includes Chief Operating Officer Ryan Alberti — formerly a director at Bustle Digital Group and Bleacher Report — and ecommerce and marketing expert Nina Tooley.

The Cool Down

The Cool Down wants to work across social channels with “unexpected messengers” to tap into particular passion points.

The Cool Down

“Whether that’s a beauty creator, or a young conservative, we are working to engage and amplify and showcase some of the breakthrough voices who maybe haven’t been asked to participate in the climate discussion,” Robertson said.

The Cool Down’s first plan is to grow a loyal audience that trusts its content, and then it’ll build the commerce platform.

The Cool Down

“I’m confident if we have a community that is really leveraging us for help, there’s going to be a substantial business opportunity here,” Finocchio said.

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