By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) – Former hedge fund executive JP Miller launched an app on Monday for his startup news site Empire Report that is modeled on the Drudge Report and chronicles New York, its politicians, financiers and celebrities.
With headlines like “Goldman guy sees gold in ‘super-cabinet’ position,” and “Shock Poll: 49 percent of New Yorkers optimistic about Trump future,” Empire Report’s layout and type looks similar to the conservative news aggregator.
The website (www.nyempirereport.com) is meant to be non-partisan and has no affiliation with Drudge, Miller said in an interview on Monday. There are other websites in Colorado, Connecticut and Pennsylvania that also look like the Drudge Report.
The timing for Miller’s site and app, which gives users access to it at the touch of a button on their smartphones, could not have been better, the 35-year-old said, noting that interest in New York has spiked since Donald Trump’s surprise presidential win.
Five months ago, Miller left hedge fund Tiger Ratan Capital, where he had been head of investor relations. Raising money for Tiger Ratan, which got a boost from billionaire investor Julian Robertson, is similar to working on his own startup, Miller said. “It is fast paced and all about telling the right story.”
Right now advertisers like Greek-American businessman John Catsimatidis and Miller’s savings from his once lucrative hedge fund industry career, are funding the business.
“My dream is for this to become the most widely read news and information site with news about New York,” Miller said.
Traffic jumped 50 percent between October and November, Miller said, declining to say exactly how many hits Empire Report is tracking.
With Trump turning to Wall Street to fill some cabinet posts, readership is climbing further, Miller said. So far, Trump has tapped former Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) partner Steve Mnuchin as Treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary.
Every past and future politician who visits Trump Tower or dines at Jean-Georges, a restaurant in Trump International Hotel & Tower, is closely chronicled on the site. One of Monday’s headlines trumpeted: “Al GORE arrives at Trump Tower.”
Miller got his start in politics before moving into hedge funds. He worked as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s New York finance director in 2012.