Demand Media Field Trip

Like most accelerators, we sit at the intersection of startups, investors, and large companies. While investors and fundraising typically receive more attention, we also constantly connect our portfolio companies with mentors and strategic partners who can provide advice about different parts of their business. Last week, we took our current class to meet with top Demand Media executives and discuss their businesses.

Demand Media is a publicly traded digital media and domain services company. Founded by Richard Rosenblatt and Shawn Colo in 2006, the company was started here in Santa Monica, raised over $300m in venture capital between 2006-2007, and IPO’d in 2010. Lucky for us, their office is located down the street from Launchpad LA.

While at Demand, our founders presented their companies and engaged with executives to answer questions and discuss potential opportunities to integrate with Demand Media business sectors. They were also assigned a relevant point person for follow-up.

When building a startup, it’s easy to forget about big companies in your own backyard that could be helpful. It can also be unclear how meaningful a meeting will be or what engaging with them should look like. We have repeatedly found that having these conversations is often fruitful even if no direct outcome is immediate. Large companies can be amazing resources for knowledge, experience, and useful contacts for building a startup. Obviously, partnerships can be rocket fuel for distribution, and since startups are rarely in a position to offer anything in return early on, mentorship and access to people who have built, scaled, and operated companies in the past is incredibly valuable.

We are extremely lucky to have companies like Demand Media in LA who are always willing to work with our entrepreneurs to help them succeed. This is meaningful not only to our own companies, but mentors and partners are essential components to growing any startup ecosystem. While the media will continue to debate the current position of the LA startup ecosystem, a derivative is usually more telling, and it is unquestionably positive.

A special thanks to the Demand Media team: Shawn Colo, Stewart Marlborough, Julie Campistron, Maggie Jones, Jeremy Daw, Chuck Ursini and Michael Kirby.