Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, formerly Twitter, has turned the service’s Hail Mary bet on an imagined $100 million political advertising business over to someone she trusts: her son Matt Madrazo.
Despite owner Elon Musk’s attempts to convert the company into a subscription-based service, the company remains dependent on an advertising business that produced about 90% of its revenue in 2021. And in the initial months after he bought Twitter, Musk expressed a keen interest in restarting the social media company’s political advertising business, which it had voluntarily shuttered in 2019.
In recent weeks, Madrazo, who previously headed ad sales at the non-political, creator-focused media firm Studio71, has been privately introducing himself to influential figures in the political ad world in Washington, D.C. He’s part of what’s essentially a two-man operation to restart X’s political advertising business with the goal of capitalizing on the massive amounts of money that campaigns are about to spend during the 2024 elections.
According to three people with knowledge of the situation, Madrazo has been tasked with outreach to Republican digital advertising firms and spenders. Jonathan Phelps, a Pandora and Univision veteran who also joined X in recent months, is handling the platform’s (far less promising) outreach to Democrats. Working occasionally out of Tesla’s D.C. offices, the duo are hoping to resuscitate a line of cash at a moment when the company is desperate for new revenue.