Well, this is what happens when you break news about your competitors getting acquired by AOL. They get back at you by revealing news that you raised additional venture dollars while you are fast asleep. I was planning to write about the fact that we received a fresh $2.5 million injection from True Ventures (see disclosure below) and Alloy Ventures on Monday. Oh, well! By now you must be wondering what the new money is for. No, it is not for acquiring smaller blogs. Instead, it’s about the future.
Let me explain: Our traditional businesses — ad-supported blogs and our events (which include Structure and upcoming NewTeeVee Live) are humming along nicely. We have five events and over 4 million monthly unique visitors across GigaOM. Even through the 2008 recession, we grew our business, and in 2010 — just as in 2009 — we are going to double our revenues.
Paid Content, Yeah We Got That
We are much more than just a collection of blogs. Over a year ago, we launched our research service, GigaOM Pro. We started this paid subscription service at a time when most of the big media companies were merely toying with the idea. When we started Pro, it was clear to me that we didn’t want to compete with existing research firms. They do an admirable job, and frankly, as a disruptor, we needed to do something different.
But unlike some of the larger media companies, we didn’t want to charge for our existing offerings, aka our blogs. That just doesn’t make sense. From that, GigaOM Pro was born. We didn’t know how successful it was going to be. Fast-forward to today, and the growth and success of GigaOM Pro has surprised us. We have over 10,000 subscribers on the platform and are growing fast. The biggest success of GigaOM Pro has been with the large corporate customers. From Silicon Valley giants to the fast-growing upstarts, many are turning to GigaOM Pro.
Welcome Skip Hilton, Leader of GigaOM Pro
A year after we launched the service, an authority none other than Gideon Gartner (yup, you read that right) gave GigaOM Pro his blessing. So now comes the hard part: sustaining and keeping the momentum of the GigaOM Pro side of the business.
In order to do that, we are fortunate to bring on Skip Hilton, who joins us from Focus Research. His job will be to press the gas on GigaOM Pro. A graduate of Stanford Business School, Skip has oodles of experience. He has worked for JRG Software, Octel, Nuance, and Price Waterhouse in his long and storied career. I am super-excited to bring him on board.
The Technology Within
But there’s more! We’ve been building out our technology team and adding developers to helps us build the next-generation technology platforms to allow us to take content to any and every device that consumers might be using.
Most folks think of us as a blog network, but we have quietly built-up a large, custom laundry list of technology assets that could exist as standalone tools. For instance, we’ve built a dashboard that gives us near-real time view of what’s happening on our network. It allows us to constantly monitor our revenues, page views and site performance
We’ve developed a virtual content router that allows us to not only take content from our sites and make it ready for any screen: iPhone, Android phones and iPads. If Steve Jobs wants to throw another device at us, we’re ready for that too.
Believe it or not, we have one of the most complex WordPress.com deployments, and have made modifications to their service, which we could package up and sell as a standalone offering.
But We Are Content Guys
No, we aren’t a technology company. We are simply a company that uses technology to help us with what we do best: content. In this age of whiz-boom-bang news blurbs and re-blogging, we strive to bring our readers context-driven and timely analysis day in and day out. It is not an easy job, and when we falter, many of you personally remind me within seconds (I’m looking at you, Mark Hernandez and Ronald), and we are better for it. For that, we work incredibly hard; each one of our writers understands the need for context.
New York New York
In order to keeping our content top notch, we keep bringing top-notch people. The latest to join us is Ryan Kim, who, until recently, was a reporter for San Francisco Chronicle. He’s joined us to be our New York correspondent, and has moved to the Big Apple to cover what’s turning out to be an incredible technology renaissance in my spiritual hometown. Needless to say, we have plans for New York.
To sum it up, we’re a big company that’s over four years old, and we’re trying new ideas and new things. As we in the technology industry know, inventing the future takes time, and, yes, money.
Disclosure: Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a partner at True Ventures.