The following guest post is by Mark Lesko, executive director of Accelerate Long Island, which supports early-stage startup technology companies.
Many startups, particularly in the social media space, start out by wanting to change the world through the dissemination of important content, the creation of new networks, or by offering socially important technologies. The problem is that many of these innovations don’t have markets, i.e. people who will spend money to buy them.
A recent illustration of this dilemma was the torturous path Waywire took until its recently announced acquisition by Magnify. Waywire started with buzz, funding and a big plan to change the world by converting millennials into video content curators – a plan that quickly descended into a death spiral. On the other hand, several years ago, Magnify chose to focus on selling its video management platform to enterprise clients and managed to produce revenue. Indeed, Magnify had previously ended its consumer-facing free product to focus on making money. And now Magnify, armed with years of experience selling its product to enterprise clients, is ready to orchestrate a Waywire pivot with a consumer-facing platform hoping to bottle some of the curation magic in the video space that companies like Pinterest have generated with photo content.