Thank you to Split Rock Partners for underwriting the Entrepreneur 2 Entrepreneur Series.
In early August, the Pohlad-owned radio station Go 96.3 purchased the brand and assets of web-based delivery service BringMeTheNews (BMTN), founded by veteran news anchor Rick Kupchella in 2009.
Why did Go buy BMTN?
In all honesty… nobody could answer this better than the buyer. That said, I know our groups compliment each other well. On the broadcast side – they had a single metro station. And with BringMeTheNews – they become a 30-station statewide radio network with a broad footprint across the state. BMTN also brought a 1M+ person monthly digital audience to Go963MN – and a strong social news presence with nearly 100k likes in FB… beating the largest-staffed news operations in the state.
If by “…how will BMTN look & operate going forward?” – you mean the future state of the local news operation… that can only be answered by the Pohlads. If you mean how will our legacy BMTN company look and operate going forward: The answer is: It’s a totally different thing.
What does the sale mean for the future, how will things be going forward?
This sale really represents a significant pivot for our company. We didn’t sell the company. We sold our local Minnesota news asset (including the name “BringMeTheNews”). We retained rights to franchise the local model in other parts of the country. And we retained rights to our national news business, which we launched last fall.
As part of this deal we changed our corporate name to PresentNation. It will have much of the same approach we had in local news – rooted in narrative curation. But in this execution there are a few significant differences, including:
– We’ll serve a national audience in niche news markets, beginning with healthcare.
– And we’ll add a fee-for-service model for brands… enabling them to advance news as a new kind of ‘content marketing’.
-We’ll license our news product to non-news brands seeking to build relationships with consumers directly.
How much money did you raise and how would you describe the ROI?
We’ve raised nearly $6M to date… and the asset sale helps us accomplish a couple things as we continue to grow the company: (1) It allows us to capitalize on the success we’ve had to-date, and (2) it allows us to bring real focus to the opportunities we’ve identified for greatest return.
What’s next for Rick Kupchella?
We have an excellent collection of business interests cohabiting on the 4th & 5th floors of the Wyman/Partridge building downtown. In addition to the work of the national news operation, I’m also a partner at GoKart Labs, which is an extraordinary innovation and invention lab we’ve partnered with from the very beginning at BringMeTheNews. I also have a broadcast and digital production arm here, (i.e. network) developing and executing content marketing strategies for major brands. I’m not counting ocean waves just yet.
What did you learn about entrepreneurship and business from the experience?
Well… for a news guy – someone who’s literally ‘grown up’ believing great things can be understood and created in the course of a day (before the 10 o’clock news)… I think the biggest learning for me has been “shit takes time”. I’m hyper-oriented for speed. But I’m learning to pace myself. I’ve also learned a great deal about process.
And what I am – and am not – good at.
Relatedly, there’s something I learned during all those years in television that just manifests itself a bit differently in this space – and that’s the value of surrounding oneself with great talent. I’m so proud of the teams we’ve built – across the floors here over the last few years – I can barely articulate it.
What advice would you have for peer entrepreneurs regarding exits & acquisitions?
First: Be wary of those who profess to know precisely what you should do. :)
Seek advice. Keep the good stuff. Throw the rest away. Think for yourself. Recognize that – in business – you should be in a state of constant learning. Strive to be aware of what that is.
Including: When to move. When to pivot. Where. And – seriously – just plan on everything taking longer than you think it will.