Politico & Axios: Jim VandeHei
Before Jim VandeHei co-founded the media company Politico, the only thing he’d managed was the night shift at Little Caesar’s pizza in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. An early passion for politics and journalism led him to Washington, D.C., where he became a political reporter for Roll Call, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. But by 2006, he could see how the internet was transforming journalism, so he walked away from the Post to co-found a digital publication—Politico—with the goal of setting the daily agenda for Washington’s power elite. With the financial backing of a local media mogul, Politico took off, but Jim eventually grew frustrated managing a company he didn’t own. So in 2017, he took another leap and co-founded Axios, a news website that gained a following for its bullet-point brevity, ready-made for the internet. Both companies have landed well: last year Axios was acquired by Cox Enterprises for over $500 million, and in 2021, Politico was purchased by Axel Springer for a reported $1 billion.