The progressive media Gatewhich launched last January with seed funding from the United Arab Emirates and a masthead of top media talent, reportedly lost its CEO amid internal confusion over its business model, while burning “millions dollars” in luxury offices and a 50-person staff.
Gate co-founder and CEO Mark Bauman, who has raised at least $10 million for the company, stepped down earlier this month and will take on an advisory role with the website, according at Axios.
The news comes less than a year later Gatethe start. The outlet, which describes itself as a “collaborative newsroom of battered reporters” that seeks to provide a “fuller picture” of major stories, was developed by registered lobbyists for the United Arab Emirates, the Free Washington Beacon first reported in January.
Although it has attracted big-name writers, including blogger Matt Yglesias as editor,Gate has yet to break into the cluttered media landscape.
Axios reported that the outlet is “losing millions of dollars paying for high-end office space in Washington while supporting the salaries of more than 50 employees.” Gate garnered fewer than 13,000 Twitter followers despite employing at least four people on its audience building team, according to the report.
APCO Worldwide, a DC lobbying firm, told the Free tag last year that he was involved in advising Gate during its development. APCO, a foreign agent for the UAE at the time, declined to say which client had used its services for Gate.
“APCO Worldwide provided consultancy services for Gate during the first half of 2021,” APCO spokesman Jimmy Koo told the Free tag. “APCO has no ongoing role to Gate.”
Bauman, the outgoing CEO, has raised seed money for Gate international media investments, according to New York Times. International Media Investments is a holding company owned by Emirati King Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and half-brother of the nation’s President.
Gate Told Axios that, despite Bauman’s departure, his investors are “committed” to Gateand that the organization “does not anticipate needing to fundraise from others to support our growing newsroom.”
The outlet did not write many stories mentioning the UAE, according to a search of its website, or focus largely on topics of interest to the Gulf state, such as opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal.
Three days before Bauman announced his resignation, Gate published a article about the COP27 climate change conference which noted that the UAE had a “problematic human rights record”.