Among the many ways for a business to raise capital these days, sending a drunken e-mail to Anthony Bourdain probably isn’t the most fruitful strategy. But it worked for Roads & Kingdoms, a burgeoning Web magazine offering an eclectic mix of food, politics, and travel fare.
“It was like a midnight Hail Mary, but Tony responded right away,” said Matt Goulding, one of two veteran journalists behind the media platform. This morning, Roads & Kingdoms announced that Bourdain has invested an undisclosed sum and joined the startup as a partner and editor-at-large. It’s Bourdain’s first personal stake in a company, a purchase that expands to digital media a personal brand largely built on TV and books.
In short, the “many glasses” of sake that fueled Goulding’s midnight missive paid off.
It wasn’t an entirely cold query. Goulding had met Bourdain in 2011 when they were both covering a snail feast in Spain’s Catalonia region. At the time, Goulding, known for his book series Eat This, Not That, and then Time magazine editor Nathan Thornburgh were about to launch Roads & Kingdoms. The idea was to enlist hundreds of professional journalists to occasionally pen an essay, shoot a series of photos, or crib a piece of narrative nonfiction from their overflowing Evernote apps and scribbled bar receipts.
Today, Roads & Kingdoms has a staff of 10 people in Brooklyn, N.Y., editing and publishing works from some 500 contributors worldwide. This week, the site featured a first-person account of subsisting solely on Chinese military rations, a deep dive into Kashmir’s heroin trade, and a celebration of drinking pastis in southern France.
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