Forgetting all the networking and buzz, when I first went to the The Summit I found the speakers were authentically inspiring. The Summit gets the freshest, most honest and most successful startup founders in the world to talk about what they do and how they do it. Absorbing that is priceless.
Since exhibiting at The Summit last October we’ve been making a lot more sales, we’re starting to make significant revenue. Ideas and users are good, but revenue is a great thing to start making.
There are a few landmark moments for startups as they start to grow.
1. When you unveil a technology, get positive feedback and you can see people recognise it’s something neat and useful.
2. Then there is a time when you figure out how it can be really useful for some people, and someone gets out a credit card or checkbook and starts paying for it. (Or paying to access your users.)
3. Then, finally, there is a time when you start getting significant numbers of people paying you for it – you’re about to start “scaling”.
At NewsWhip the third step in this process has really started, and it’s a positive place to be. We’ve sorted out our marketing much better, and word of mouth is helping to spread the word as well. We now have most of the top news publishers using our services to find what stories are about to be big on social media – including BuzzFeed, the BBC, the HuffPo, NBC. These guys are sophisticated clients – when they buy your service it’s really encouraging.
The Summit was really helpful for our progress. I definitely got some good meetings and sales through it. At least for me, what’s really cool about the Summit is all the smaller events happening, it’s not just all based in one big auditorium. And its at those things that the real connections are made.
For first timers, make sure you go to The Summit with your homework done, don’t just hope to figure it out that morning. Check out who is attending and who you want to meet, especially relating to your industry. Whatever industry you are in there will probably be some clients of yours at The Summit, more established businesses you might want to speak to. Get on their radar.
The Summit attracts forward thinking people within the organisations that you might want to sell your technology or audience to, so I think of it as a better sales opportunity than an investment-finding opportunity. Investors meet a lot of people at The Summit so it is quite challenging to stand out from the crowd, so look for those interested in your industry, and remember the investors will be overwhelmed with meeting requests and emails.
This year I was networking-focused and doing a couple of panel talks, so didn’t get to many of the events, but the first year I went to The Summit I got to see a lot of talks and I found them genuinely inspiring, I don’t think that caliber of speaker had been to Ireland before. They spoke very clearly about the basic ingredients of running a successful startup – it was quite inspiring to think at the same level as the people who are building the biggest tech companies in the world.
So what’s next for NewsWhip this year? We’ve got a great team in place now, so it’s time to grow the market and keep building the technology. We’ve built a new architecture underlying our professional platform Spike, and it has made it extremely flexible, and makes adding new features and uses very easy. All the time, we’re mapping the full DNA of how news spreads online, and figuring out how to make that information the most useful to journalists, and now also community managers and marketers.
Paul Quigley is the co-founder and CEO of NewsWhip. As a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and New York University, Paul has degrees in law and international law. Before founding NewsWhip, he practiced law at two of New York’s major commercial law firms, working on cases in technology, energy, finance and many other sectors. His return to news publishing may have been inevitable. He founded his first newspaper, the Castletroy Times, at age 15.
In September 2013 NewsWhip raised upwards of $1 million in funding, they are also continuing to expand their product range. If you’d like to join Paul, and 20,000 others at The Summit 2014 you can sign up for a free 2 for 1 voucher here.