BusinessInsider: It’s Got A Bulging Bank Account ” And Even Bigger Potential
They were looking for $2m and ended up with $7m. And for a news website that has been operating on a shoestring for the last four years that, as it says itself, makes its “bank account look positively massive”.
Businessinsider.com ranks well on Google on financial news and its content is pretty strong, but it is still exceptional to hear of a website that offers news for free leveraging this kind of money.
The site’s founder, chief executive and editor, Henry Blodget, told MediaGuardian.co.uk the business model will change over time. “The main site is (and will remain) free. We’ll also be launching premium subscriptions at some point,” he said.
His new investor, Institutional Venture Partners , put money in “exceptional technology” companies and has an interesting portfolio including Tivo, Zynga, ComScore, LivingSocial, NetFlix and ” most significant of all ” Twitter.
Blodget says: “The vision is simple: to use the full capabilities of the digital medium to tell our global reader community what they need to know now ” while putting the fun back in business.”
After four years the company now employs 60 staff and boasts 12 milllion unique visitors a month ” 400,000 a day. If it can convert half of those into paying subscribers it will be doing well.
Just by way of comparison, the FT has a daily circulation of 356,196 and 229,000 paying digital subscribers ” but an online daily readership of 2.1 million worldwide.
So any advice for would-be journalistic startups? “One of the things we were fortunate to recognise early on is that each new medium eventually evolves its own native journalism and storytelling techniques,” said Blodget. “This medium can’t do some of the things that newspapers and TV can do, but it can do some amazing things that they can’t. One key to our success has been to focus on the latter, and I would certainly advise any other digital news startups to do that.”
It was also quick to go with the changing times. serviceloanmodification.com started life as a series of verticals including Silicon Alley Insider and after a year joined forces with Money Game, The Wire and other verticals to relaunch under one brand.
On that note ” take a look around the site, it is quite unFTish in parts ” aggregating as well as reporting means it ends up carrying a huge spread of material, ranging from the latest entertainment news (concentrating on big guns such as Lady Gaga, Kate Middleton) to the latest on hedge funds and stocks, tech and fun sections such as tips on hiring and firing, instant MBAs, and a directory of concepts.