Submit Content

‘Disruptive’ Media Startup to Launch Next Month

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations. co-founder Lucien ZeiglerAs more and more news websites are embracing paywalls — restricting access to online content to those who pay a subscription fee — one Arlington startup is trying to break them down.

Lucien Zeigler and co-founders William Treadway and Christian Zeigler (Lucien’s brother) founded Outl!t for just that purpose. Zeigler works for the Saudi-U.S. Trade Group and compiled a daily newsletter on U.S.-Saudi business interests. His credit card bill showed he was spending more than $100 a month, simply for access to a variety of newspapers.

“Paywalls are becoming more and more common, and they’re essentially roadblocks for consumers,” Zeigler told last week. “I thought, why can’t readers pay very small amounts of money, double or triple what advertising would pay, to get access to paywall content?”

Starting next month, readers can. Outl!t will be available to the public under the idea that readers can pay for what they read and nothing more. A user will launch an account with a set amount of money. Outl!t partners with news organizations to bring them content, and, if the content costs money to read, pennies will be deducted from the user’s account. Most stories will cost 1 to 5 cents, Zeigler said, unless they’re free or exceptionally long.

“We’re anti-subscription,” Zeigler said. “We feel those are really inefficient. You’re essentially paying for a lot of content you’re not really getting to see. You can see more if you don’t have to pay bulk subscription costs, you can just get things à la carte.”

The function of à la carte news reading is just one plank of the Outl!t platform. It will also allow independent writers to publish on their own, and allow readers to see their work for free, or for a fee. Zeigler said eventually he plans on launching original content, produced by Outl!t staffers, to add to the mix of voices users can find.

Zeigler said he’s loath to use the “disrupt” buzzword, but he thinks that’s exactly what Outl!t is capable of doing to the news industry.

An example of Out.lit's platform“We took a look at the media industry in general, used a lot of open data and what we saw was an industry that was spiraling downward pretty quickly,” he said. “We thought we needed not just a Band-Aid, but a totally disruptive type of solution, where we rebuild everything from the ground up.”

There will be no advertisements on the network, and each user can choose which news outlets stories will appear on their home page. After seeing the headline and first line of text or so, readers can decide whether they want to spend the money to read the full article.

Outl!t has received a seed investment for an undisclosed amount from an undisclosed investor, and has already lined up partnerships with 20 or so news organizations. For every purchase of a story, Outl!t and the news organizations divide the revenue.

Customers can join for free on Outl!t’s website now in anticipation of the company’s launch next month. Their initial deposit will be matched to encourage more use and demonstrate the product’s viability.

Although making money is the goal of any new business, Zeigler is a lover of news and passionate about the potential for Outl!t to reverse the downward trend of the industry. The company is based out of Zeigler’s Arlington home, but it will be looking for Arlington office space soon.

“Just like iTunes did with the music business, we aim to provide marketplace efficiency for providers of all sizes, from the largest newspapers to the blogger, writer, or journalist that has something of value to contribute to the world,” Zeigler said. “That’s our goal with Outl!t — to level the playing field in this business.”

Recent Stories

Looking for something to do this week in Arlington? Check out the following selections from our event calendar. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out this form….

It’s a little less park-like than New York City’s High Line, but Arlington County has come up with a concept for new pedestrian bridge from Crystal City to National Airport….

Searching for a new place? Join the open house event at 1500 Arlington Apartments this Saturday.

Good news for coffee lovers who enjoy not taking extra steps to get their caffeine fix: Arlington’s lone drive-thru Starbucks is only closed temporarily. The cafe at 5515 Langston Blvd,…

INF Care Virtual Concierge is a new and inviting option to remote assistance that leverages the best of what technology should encompass with quality interaction.

For the busy individual that needs a way to reduce stress and tackle caring for an older family member that lives alone.


For the maturing adult that just needs help with everyday tedious tasks, connectivity, and access to data on their everyday habits to pinpoint areas that need more attention.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Looking for a more convenient way to work out?

On the Go Fitness Pro offers in home personal training. We bring the gym to you, so you can save time and skip the hassle of going to the gym. Plus, our trainers are certified and experienced, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible workout.

We provide all the equipment needed for a great workout or we can use the equipment that you have.

Schedule a free consultation today and see how we can help you achieve your fitness goals.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Mini Photo Sessions for Family & Pets

Mini Family & Pet Photo Sessions
Beat the rush and sign up to get your holiday photos now!

Bring your kids! Bring your dogs!

Check out the DeSilva Studios website. Look at the images and see if you like them

Vini Franchetti Wine Dinner

Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!

Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm

Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker


Subscribe to our mailing list