Join our mission to make business better as Quartz becomes an independent media company

Join our mission to make business better as Quartz becomes an independent media company
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Dear Quartz readers,

When we created Quartz in 2012, the world was just emerging from the great recession, and the lessons of that crisis heavily influenced our thinking. We felt that business needed serious reform and that Quartz could help point the way: to new markets and industries; to freer movement of people and goods; to longer-term thinking; to greater accountability for corporations; and to a more equitable and sustainable form of capitalism.

Now we are all living through an even more consequential moment for the global economy. Our founding values, many of them threatened by events of the past eight years, feel more urgent than ever. The pandemic has tested long-held assumptions about how business is conducted and challenged companies, including our own, to take a long-term view in the face of acute financial pressure. Even before this tumultuous year began, an important debate had emerged about the purpose of companies and their obligations to society—a picture of business that goes well beyond maximizing shareholder value. But it’s one thing to talk about “stakeholder capitalism” or “corporate social responsibility,” and quite another to live those values in practice.

It’s a put-up-or-shut-up moment. At Quartz, we are ready to put up, through our own actions and through the lens we apply to business journalism. When we talk to you, our readers, we hear similar conviction and urgency. You crave a greater sense of purpose in your work and expect the work you do to have a net-positive impact on the wider world. We agree, and want Quartz to be your ally and strongest resource in developing these better ways of doing business.

So today we are taking two important steps:

First, we are putting our values front-and-center in Quartz’s mission: Make business better. We believe companies should solve real problems without creating new ones. The global economy must be as inclusive as it is innovative, balance financial incentives with the needs of our planet, and elevate leaders who act with integrity, empathy, and foresight.

These ideas come to life at Quartz through our obsessions, like Fixing Capitalism and The Climate Economy; through our field guides for members, like recent ones on building anti-racist companies and the future of America’s H-1B visa; through Quartz at Work’s practical workshops on building better companies; through the work of Quartz Africa, which covers innovation across the continent; and through Quartz India, our guide to the world’s largest democracy. We try to live our values every day in our choices about what to cover and how. These are difficult problems, but with the right knowledge and conviction, we really can make business better.

Second, Quartz is becoming an independent media company again. For the past two years, we have been owned by Uzabase, a publicly traded company based in Tokyo. That was helpful as we navigated a period of enormous change in digital media, but we are better off right now as a startup, freer to chart our own path. I have reached an agreement to acquire Quartz myself and take us private. I’m joined in this management buyout by Quartz’s editor in chief, Katherine Bell, and the rest of our staff, who will share equity in our new company.

Most of the time, I hope, Quartz’s finances and our corporate parentage are irrelevant, as long as we’re doing our job well. But this is an important moment in the life of our company, and we want to share it with all of you, whose readership and enthusiasm for Quartz have carried us successfully through the past eight years. We’ll be raising money to fund our growth; my email is z@qz.com, if you want to chat about that or other ways of supporting our mission.

The best way to support us is by starting your day with the Quartz Daily Brief, our free morning briefing on global business, and by becoming a member of Quartz. Your membership directly funds our journalism and is vital to our success as an independent media company. This week we’re offering 50% off the first year of membership, which gets you unlimited access to all of our coverage and premium features like field guides, emails, and presentations. Use the code MEMBERSWEEK.

We hope you’ll consider joining us.

Zach Seward
Co-founder and CEO, Quartz