We met up with Tracy Clark from awesome startup Reportory. What’s the venture all about? Well, as she put it, “Reportory lets you pick which news sources you read, which sections you enjoy, and which keywords you want to track. Each day you will then receive your customized news, only from those sources, topics and keywords … no two news digests are alike!” We love the concept and speaking with Tracy about the idea, where it came from, where they’re headed and how they’re doing it!
StartupCatchup: Please introduce us to your venture Reportory.
Tracy: My name is Tracy Clark and I started working on Reportory one year ago and incorporated it this past summer. Reportory is an a-la-carte media website that allows readers to select news publications, sections and keywords they are interested in to create their own customized news digest each day. We set up licensing contracts with all publishers including CNN, Forbes, Bloomberg, AP, Reuters and Dow Jones.
StartupCatchup: How did you come up with the idea?
Tracy: In 2007 I was working at a newspaper and every employee is required to go on a morning delivery to experience the full process of creating and delivering a newspaper. During that long car ride I started thinking about how the business model delivering print paper to a reader’s doorstep simply wouldn’t survive forever but that the hand-delivered personalization feature was truly special. The other great thing about a paper is that reader can feel accomplished starting and finishing something unlike with a real-time aggregator that continuously updates. A few months later at our annual meeting our publisher commented that people and paper are the two most expensive components of running a newspaper so I started thinking how to remove those two elements while still providing a consumable and customized news product, still personally delivered just to one’s inbox versus doorstep.
StartupCatchup: What made you actually take action and go for it?
Tracy: Fast forward seven years and two master’s degrees, I started seeing a lot of churn in the media industry with multiple players entering the space to customize and aggregate the news. However most of them still didn’t hit on the pain points I initially thought to focus on around personal delivery and consumability so I decided I’d rather risk trying than die wondering “what if.”
StartupCatchup: How are you funding the project?
Tracy: I am self-investing and recently did a round of family and friends. I am heads-down focused on perfecting the product in order to prepare for a seed round within the next year.
StartupCatchup: What are your plans for the business and what do you hope to accomplish?
Tracy: In the short-term I want to fully build out my vision for the product while continuing to base my priorities around early user feedback. My mid-term goal is to license 100% of U.S.-based newspapers and news magazines. Long-term I’d love to expand internationally to license a wide array of news sources around the world and offer Reportory in multiple languages.
StartupCatchup: What has been the most rewarding experience so far on the journey?
Tracy: Each day I wake up to a new set of challenges that push me and propel me. One day it is product discussions with my IT team, another day it is developing marketing materials, and the next day it is working on competitive strategy. I feel most rewarded when I am challenged, which I think I can say with certainty is a widespread feeling for all entrepreneurs!
StartupCatchup: What, if anything, would you have done differently looking back on the journey now?
Tracy: Tough one! I learned from all of my early decisions so not sure I could say they are mistakes. And I’m not sure more competitive research or speaking with more entrepreneurs would have scared me away as I was pretty determined to put pen to paper and see it through. I suppose more than anything else I would have secured a wider support system earlier on as being an entrepreneur is truly a team effort as the high’s are fun to celebrate together and the low’s are crucial to have others to help you through.
StartupCatchup: What would you advise others who have an idea but simply don’t know where to begin?
Tracy: First, talk to anyone and everyone about your idea. Do a survey on user’s pain points in this area to see if others see your pain point and agree it’s large enough to spend countless hours, money, sweat and tears focusing on. In my early days the more people I told about my idea the better my competitive analysis became because they told me about other players I had never heard of that they thought were similar. If they thought this way based on my overview, then obviously others might as well so my net was cast wide on all sorts of different aggregators and news sites.
StartupCatchup: Can you give us a quote that motivates and inspires you to keep going?
Tracy: I created an entire bulletin board at my desk of quotes to keep me motivated. My favorite one is: “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go” by T.S. Eliot.