- Once-buzzy digital media company Refinery29 is combining with Vice Media in a mostly stock sale.
- Business Insider talked to numerous current and former employees and other people close to the company about its rise and disappointing exit.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Justin Stefano and Philippe von Borries were media outsiders and first-time entrepreneurs when, in their early 20s, they left their jobs in law and politics, respectively, to start Refinery29 with Piera Gelardi and Christene Barberich.
The company ultimately became a progressive voice for women that was early in embracing body positivity and diversity. Its live events, 29Rooms, became a template for other made-for-Instagram experiences.
This past week, it came to a crashing end as an independent company with its mostly-stock sale to Vice Media.
Business Insider spoke to numerous current and former employees and other people close to the company, who described the rise and disappointing exit of Refinery29.
They describe it as a publisher that became one of too many mid-sized options for readers and advertisers, struggling to stand out to both readers and advertisers against social platforms.