We decided to kick 2019 off with a blog post, instead of following our regular interview format. The reason for this is to do a quick summary of 2018 and also layout our plans for the new year.
2018 – StartupBrite made its first steps
Sometime in 2018, I was invited by Donavon Urfalian to be part of the “Shark-tank”-like events he was hosting in different WeWork locations in LA. He wanted me to be part of the panel as a technical advisor and help startups pitching at the events with any technology-related questions or issues. In other words, I was part of the event to help startups on the technology side, if such needs occurred during the pitches of after that during the mentoring part of the event.
Donavon and I knew each other for the last 3+ years and we had (unformal) master-mind kind of group to keep us accountable with our new startups.
Being part of these events, I realized that I can help even more. I shared my initial idea with Michael, who was a colleague of mine back then and also pitched at the event (and won!), and we decided to put some effort to build Startupbrite. The initial idea changed, we decided to go with video interviews and social media marketing, as well as leverage the existing network of investors we had access to at these events.
In 2018 we managed to interview 13 startups! This was no easy task and we are grateful to all founders who decided to use our services and to be part of StartupBrite network.
Here are the startups that took advantage of our services in 2018:
Gitential with Zoltan Peresztegi
Paperpinecone with Stacey Grumet
Quadlets App with Julian
Pozbee with Cagdas Ocak
SharedChain with Like Ho-Hyung Lee
We did our best to do the video interviews, but there were few setbacks, as it can be expected when you are just starting. We managed to fix a lot of the issues during the post-production process and we learned a lot about how to do video interviews. We definitely are looking into improving the interview process, postproduction and also do a better job helping our guests to prepare better for the interview too.
We decided to post each Tuesday every week, which is a serious challenge. Each video needs to be edited and finalized and rendered (the actual final rendering takes about a couple of hours!). We need to gather all the pieces for the company profile to build it. In a few occasions, we had issues getting the information on time, so we had to shuffle the order of postings. We will probably require the profile details from now on before we do the interview, to make sure we all utilize our time better.
Last two weeks’ Thuesdays were around Christmas time and New Year’s Eve, so we decided to simply skip the posts for these days because we felt that it would have been unfair to the companies in the queue to post on these days.
Where we plan to go in 2019
We have big plans for 2019! We want to make StartupBrite even more useful platform for startups and continue serving the startup community.
Our first goal is to increase the traffic to our website. This will be done by utilizing paid and free (SEO) traffic. The paid sources we plan to be social media mostly, which includes LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. In terms of SEO, we are already making the necessary efforts and we see the results – a monthly increase of traffic from search sources.
We will reboot and start our podcast version of the interviews. We had hosting and other issues with publishing the podcasts last year, so we decided to probably start from scratch and make sure all these details are ironed out. We plan to start with the podcast version of the interviews in February.
Next, we will be working on growing our email list. This is to grow our lists of founders and investors, to increase the exposure for founders to investors and to help investors get more timely updates about our new posts. We send emails campaigns on Tuesdays too, just after the interviews are posted, but we need to make sure the process is more robust and the emails are more informative.
Another new idea is to bring more people to the interviews either as co-hosts or even have interviews done by other hosts. I believe we will get help from Novelette Witt and she will be hosting some of the interviews this year!
During 2019 we will most likely still be focusing on startups in Los Angeles, but we are definitely looking for ways to extend our reach to San Francisco and other big startup hubs in the country.
One underutilized resource in 2018 was contacting existing incubators and accelerators in LA to find startups and interview founders. The only reason for this was simply lack of time, nothing else. To be honest, we were overwhelmed by the acceptance of the idea by the startup founders and we had more people in the queue for interviews than we could handle.
We are looking forward to continuing to receive help from WeWork. I want to personally thank Johnson Joseph from DTLA WeWork location at the Fine Arts Building – he saved us on a couple of occasions when we couldn’t book an office or our reservation was canceled. It was a great help and we appreciate the effort and the support!
We will continue to develop the StartupBrite platform during 2019 and we are looking forward to interviewing more startup founders! These interviews give us the unique opportunity to meet with extraordinary people and this makes the whole process so much fun! Let’s continue the conversation, and bring more bright ideas to live.
To all our readers – warm wishes for a successful and healthy New Year!