The U.S. is home to more than 20 million veterans and active service members, a community with a unique need for information and media related to their work.
A new Seattle-based digital media company is hoping to fill that need. Valor Worldwide, founded by former aQuantive and Microsoft executive Jeff Lanctot and longtime military media publisher Ken Marsh, launched Wednesday with its first domain: OurMilitary.com.
The new site will provide information important to military members and their families, like data on the top installations and bases around the world. It will also produce original and syndicated news relevant to the community.
“We realized quickly that by combining Jeff’s expertise in digital media with the intellectual property and relationships that have come from my years servicing military bases across the country, that we had a unique opportunity to create a company and Internet property that will prove to have great value, reach and impact on our military families and business partners,” Marsh said in a statement. He will serve as Valor Worldwide’s president, while Lanctot is its CEO.
Lanctot brings a longstanding expertise in digital media to the new company. He is best known for his time as an executive at digital advertising company aQuantive, where he spent ten years. He was the company’s SVP of global media when it was sold to Microsoft for $6.3 billion in 2007 and went on to hold held high-ranking positions at aQuantive and Microsoft’s advertising and publishing solutions group.
In 2012, Microsoft took a $6.2 billion write-down on its online services division, largely because the acquisition didn’t lead to the growth Microsoft had anticipated. It essentially marked an end for aQuantive, just a few years after the promising young company seemed to be on top of the world.
By that time, Lanctot had left Microsoft and was overseeing media planning and buying operations for Razorfish. He has since served as the CEO of Mixpo and worked as an advisor and board member with a number of digital media companies.
His co-founder, Ken Marsh, is the military expert. He founded his military print directory in 1980 and grew the service, then called U.S. Publishing, across 25 states. He later rebranded to West Coast Publishing, selling off the East Coast section of the business, and ran it on and off until it printed its last edition in 2017.
“What attracted me most to partnering with Ken is his deep passion and commitment to continuously giving back to military and veteran-related non-profits,” Lanctot said in a press release. “Our long-term vision for Valor Worldwide is similar, but on a much larger scale. We aim to have a flywheel approach with OurMilitary.com, where we partner with businesses that have a vested interest in taking care of our military, so we can provide tangible, on-going benefits to veterans in need.”