Month: September 2013

A change in fundraising law, but is there still time to save NSFWCORP from a forced pivot?

You’ve seen it, of course. “Brewster’s Millions,” the movie — so popular that Hollywood remade it six times — in which a man stands to inherit a vast fortune, if only he can spend a smaller fortune before time runs out. The catch? If he shares his predicament with anyone, he loses everything.

Now, how’s this for a modern twist:

It’s 2013. An entrepreneur, known for sharing his every last professional trial and tribulation with the world, realizes he has a little over three weeks to raise $100k to keep his company alive. An investor promises half, but only if he can find the other $50k first. But — twist! — he can’t advertise for investors until securities law changes… in three weeks. If he shares his predicament with the word, he could lose everything.

What a gas, right?

Three weeks ago, it became painfully apparent that NSFWCORP — the online/print magazine startup whose growing pains I’ve been documenting on these pages — needed to raise an additional $100,000, and fast.

This past summer, we raised $250,000 in a series seed round, bringing NSFWCORP’s total investment to a little over $900,000. $250k isn’t a huge amount of money for a company with a dozen employees (nor is $900k, for that matter) but as I’ve written before, we weren’t exactly drowning in offers of more.…


Advice for journalism startups: Take the money. Take it all. Ask for more

Afew hours ago I sat down to write my usual somewhat-weekly newsletter toNSFWCORP subscribers. Normally I include links to the great journalism the team has produced in the previous week along with my standard blurb about how great NSFWCORP is going and how you should subscribe to be part of our success. Blah blah blah.

But this week, writing a message like that seemed more bullshitty than normal. I mean, yes, entrepreneurs are always supposed to be selling. Everything is always great, until it’s not. We’re always committed to the course until we pivot. We’re always fiercely independent until we sell to AOL.

And certainly, in the past month or so, the story of how NSFWCORP has cracked the nut of getting people to pay for journalism has started to catch on, and not least because it’s at least half true. The New York Times has written a variation of that story, so has Reuters and the Daily Beast. And I know of at least three other reporters who are working on in-depth profiles of what we’re doing out here in Vegas.

But the fact that thousands of people have signed up to read what we write, while absolutely true, is only half the story.…


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