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Published on October 22nd, 2013 |


Buckhead hosts workshop to help start-up media firms

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    Nine media start-up companies from across the country came to a Collab/Space Atlanta workshop last week in Buckhead to lay out the challenges facing their business models and discuss the challenges they face and ways to not only survive but grow in an ever-changing technology world.
    Although at different stages of development in a variety of businesses models, the nine startups presenting at the Collab/Space Atlanta had a few primary common challenges: establishing clear goals, identifying their target audiences and knowing where the funding is coming from.

    The all-day Collab/Space Atlanta workshop was held at Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead and was attended by key people from local media organizations, journalism and communication schools, investment firms and others who are active in the entrepreneurial and media scenes.

    Collab/Space Atlanta was produced by PBS MediaShift with sponsorship from the John S. Knight Fellowships at Stanford and the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University. 

    Each of the start-up groups was given five minutes to explain their business and then was given a chance to answer questions from the audience. Lists of the challenges facing each of the businesses was made and after lunch, participants discussed solutions for these challenges in break-out sessions.

    Mark Glaser, executive editor of PBS MediaShift
    addresses the Collab/Space Atlanta workshop. 

    The following is a brief description of the nine start-up businesses that presented at Collab/Space:

    AdGlue is a system that allows advertisers the ability to place their own ads next to content they like at online media sites.

    Carolina Public Press is an online news service providing unbiased, investigative journalism for Western North Carolina,focusing on public interest, open-records reporting.
    San Francisco Public Press is a quarterly print newspaper publication focusing on local public interest investigating reporting and was teamed up at the workshop with Carolina Public Press.
    Clear Health Costs is a website by journalists that provides real costs of health care that is provided by crowdsourcing, partially by partnering with WNYC media outlet.
    Flashissue is a Gmail email newsletter for personal branding with a content curation feature.
    Groundsource is a system for communicating with groups of people through only SMS (ShortMessage Service) a text messaging service component of phone, web or mobile communication systems using standardized communications
    Meograph is a system that allows users to create rich multimedia, with assets that are rights-approved.

    Social News Desk is a web-based software to manage social accounts for newsrooms where there are multiple (ideally 50 or more) people using social media for communication.
    Voices on the Record is a digital cloud and website to store voice recordings of interviews, categorized by tags, topics, dates, etc.

    Following the brain-storming sessions, John C. Yates, a partner with the Buckhead-headquartered law firm of Morris, Manning & Martin, offered some advice for the startups, reminding the businesses to know their audience best and be the smartest person in the room during a pitch to investors.

    Morris, Manning & Martin partner John C. Yates talks
    during the day-long Collab/Space workshop in  Buckhead. 

    Yates also touched on the topic of patents, saying if you think it’s a good idea, file the patent first. Get the patent before someone else does, even if you haven’t started creating it.

    When looking for investors, Yates told the group to shoot for the stars. He told the startups to super-charge their financial model and let the sky be the limit for who you ask to invest in your company.

    But Yates warned, know who has the money and who doesn’t. Do research before you put in the effort Yates said. Start with people who have invested in similar companies. Remember, the team is everything.

    Yates offered 7 Practical Pointers helped give some guidelines for finding funding: Be the smartest person in the room, protect the crown jewels, be a star gazer, the customer is always right, whistle while you work, there is no “I” in team and follow the money. 

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