Don's last business was acquired by Internet Brands, Inc. (formally Cars Direct) less than three years from its launch. It was completely bootstrapped: Don used credit cards, had only two employees, had no investors, and experienced great positive cash flow. This business was the first website in Internet Brands Money and Business vertical.
1. What prompted you to start Comunitee?
I have been obsessed with making news more social. Online news today is very fragmented; there should be one central area that can deliver top breaking news that is relevant to each user and can be delivered to multiple devices.
2. Why are social/sharing aspects important parts of a news-based site?
The most common way of hearing about news events is by talking to family and friends either in person or over the phone. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 75% of adults get their news via word of mouth. Then, the majority of these individuals go to other sources, typically online, to learn more. Social networking is another way people (15%) are finding out about news. Of the people using social sites, 77% will click on links to read the full news article. This means that friends are already a driving force in the way you obtain your news.
3. What are the benefits to the end user of utilizing Comunitee rather than sharing stories from other news feeds/sites?
Everything is done for the user. Comunitee allows you to read your favorite news stories with your friends. Your friends news discovery becomes your news because you are able to see everything that your friends are reading. So if your friend reads the latest news on Barack Obama and you also have interest in stories pertaining to Barack Obama, then you will discover this news story as well.
4. In your experience as an internet entrepreneur, what makes a company valuable as an acquisition--or to put it another way, what are some things an entrepreneur needs to do online to make a site desirable to potential buyers?
Create an asset. If you are building a web property or an app, stay focused on that one product or service. If you have a popular website, continue to build on that success with SEO and other valuable services you can offer. Potential buyers will be looking for super-engaged audiences and/or a revenue model that is clearly scalable.
5. How do you think technology will evolve in the next five years?
With so many new devices and so many apps in the App Store, I couldn't even imagine where we will be. Now with Google Glass, 3D printing, and other wearable technology it will be a fun next few years to see all this amazing technology.