Meet Craig 'Craigslist' Newmark, the self-professed 'nerd' who built a $1 billion online listing empire and donated $20 million to a media company that's now facing a massive editorial exodus
- Craig Newmark is the founder of classified ads website Craigslist. Newmark started the site as an email newsletter called "San Francisco Events."
- Newmark only led the company for five years - he stepped down as CEO in 2000 and has dedicated his time to philanthropy ever since.
- Most recently, tech publication The Markup - which Newmark helped raise $22 million for - made headlines for its staff exodus on Tuesday.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Craig Newmark hasn't worked at Craigslist for nearly twenty years.Instead, the billionaire founder - who started his site in 1995 - dedicates his time to philanthropy. Despite criticism for his site's negative impact on print newspapers, Newmark is a dedicated supporter of journalism, donating millions to publications such as ProPublica and the Poynter Institute. Advertisement
He also donated $20 million to a forthcoming tech publication, The Markup, which made headlines on Tuesday for its staff exodus following the departure of its editor-in-chief, Julia Angwin. The nonprofit publication was set to investigate tech companies and was supposed to officially launch in July.a 2018 interview with Business Insider's Jim Edwards, Newmark talked about his decision to not take the VC route and also referred to himself as an "old-fashioned" nerd.
Keep reading for a look at Craig Newmark's life and career, from his start at IBM to his recent philanthropy focus.
Founder of online ads site Craigslist, Craig Newmark has, according to Forbes, a net worth of $1.6 billion. He stepped back from the company in 2000, and now focuses on philanthropy.
Newmark was born in Morristown, New Jersey in 1952 ...Advertisement
... and later attended school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Newmark originally planned on working as a quantum physicist but studied computer systems instead.
After graduation, Newmark joined IBM, where he would work for the next 18 years.Advertisement
The job took Newmark to Boca Raton and Detroit to work with General Motors before he finally landed in San Francisco in 1993. At his new job with Charles Schwab, Newmark was introduced to the internet during the early stages of many Silicon Valley empires.
New to the city, Newmark relied on recommendations from colleagues and friends. In 1995, he decided to start an email newsletter. Originally called "San Francisco Events," the newsletter was commonly referred to as "Craig's List." People quickly advised Newmark to change the name to Craigslist to help establish a brand.Advertisement
Craigslist grew quickly, offering spaces for classified ads online. Today, the company employs around 40 workers. According to Forbes, the site receives over 50 billion page views per month and earns $690 million in revenue.
Over the years, Newmark has been criticized for his site's impact on the newspaper business, as classified ads served as a huge revenue source for print news prior to Craigslist's online disruption.Advertisement
In a 2018 interview with Business Insider, Newmark said he decided, against the recommendations of many advisors, "to monetize as little as possible" and did not take the venture capitalist route so many Silicon Valley companies choose.
As Newmark told Business Insider's Jim Edwards, "VC's and bankers at that point told me I should do the usual Silicon Valley thing and make some billions. But no one really needs billions of dollars, except to give away."Advertisement
In 2018, Newmark donated $20 million to the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Following his donation, the dean renamed the school the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.
Additionally, Newmark has donated to other journalism institutions — including $1 million each to the Poynter Institute, ProPublica, and Mother Jones — along with Girls Who Code and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Newmark also holds advisory board positions for numerous other nonprofit organizations and has donated to Democratic Party presidential candidates.Advertisement
Newmark married Eileen Whipley in December of 2012. The couple currently splits their time between San Francisco and their Greenwich Village duplex in New York City.
Newmark refers to himself as an "old-school" nerd. He also told Business Insider's Jim Edwards he doesn't see himself as famous, despite founding a multimillion-dollar, eponymous company.Advertisement
Newmark also backs The Markup, a forthcoming tech publication. On Tuesday, the site made headlines after five out of seven editorial staffers quit following the departure of their editor-in-chief, Julia Angwin. The non-profit had plans to launch in July of this year.
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