Running a media business in the 21st century goes hand in hand with innovation and evolution. Douglas Soltys, a Torontonian who has run several publications, can attest to this. When he bought back Betakit, an entirely digital publication dedicated to the world of start-ups and technology, the media world was in crisis. Thanks to his previous experiences, he knew exactly which path to take in order to make the acquisition a success.
Third time’s a charm
BetaKit Incorporated celebrated its first anniversary on February 26, 2017. Or its third, depending on how you look at it. Initially owned by a major media corporation, BetaKit eventually switched hands before becoming an independent publication.
“It’s a slightly messier history than most entrepreneurs,” Soltys concedes. “But I think that speaks to the type of company that we are.”
A dynamic one, you might say. But while survival is a recurrent theme in our conversation, Soltys is confident about the publication’s future.
“The business is bringing in revenue, paying employees, surviving and growing. It’s a process of surviving until you succeed, and we’re going to keep at it.”
Thinking outside the box
BetaKit’s success may have something to do with the fact that Soltys essentially works three full‑time jobs rolled into one, he jokes. All kidding aside, his uncanny ability to avoid the usual pitfalls faced by new publications is the reason BetaKit is thriving.
For this 33‑year-old entrepreneur who oversees a small team from his Toronto office, the traditional banner ad model wasn’t an option. Soltys had found himself in a tight spot with his previous company: “I remember what happened in 2008 when the global financial crisis hit. We were doing great—we were growing, our publication was amazing,” he recalls. “But all the people who were buying ad space from us at the time were going out of business. We couldn’t sell our inventory, so we went out of business because our customers went out of business. It was beyond our control.”
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