The Outline was an online publication focused on "power", "culture" and the "future" which was a subsidiary of Bustle. It was founded by Joshua Topolsky in 2016.
The company did not want to be too reliant on social media distribution, but instead aimed to reach a "smart, influential" readership who would visit its website directly. The articles are visually interactive, and highly optimized for mobile. The interface contains articles represented as a stack of cards that users can swipe through. The company earned income by virtue of its partnerships with 10 to 12 companies a year, as opposed to reliance on a format employing traditional banner ads.
The Outline was founded in 2016 under a holding company named Independent Media with funding from RRE Ventures, Advancit Capital, Boat Rocker Ventures and Nextview Ventures. The company initially hired 10 employees and launched its website on December 5, 2016. It later grew to 26 employees, having recruited people from news media outlets like Vox Media, Vice News, and Buzzfeed. In April 2017, The Outline introduced The Outline World Dispatch, a short daily podcast with news roundups.
The company announced a second fund-raising in May 2018 of $5.15M, stating that it would use the money for "measured growth." U.S. broadcast television company TEGNA signed on as a new investor, having earlier announced a content partnership as part of the investment in February 2018.
Highest paying job titles at The Outline include Brand Manager, Brand Director, and Finance Planning & Analysis Manager