Online content is easy to create, but to actually reach a sizable audience and make money doing so is hard. It’s the difference between a blog and a business.
Local content play StartupsAnonymous began as a side project by Dana Severson while pursuing his primary venture, Chasm.io. Teaming up with developer Nick Ciske, Severson bootstrapped the site launch on January 14th after it “Became clear that there was a problem in the tech industry.”
He articulates that problem as the self-imposed censorship every entrepreneur has to varying degree and how it adversely impacts transparency in the tech industry. As a solution, StartupsAnonymous provides “A place for startup entrepreneurs who have things on their mind to speak openly and ask questions without fear of retribution.”
The site counts 200k unique visitors to date and has received 1,500 user submitted anonymous posts that range from rants to specific questions about business, family and beyond.
“It’s therapeutic in nature to be able to get something off your mind,” Severson says, who posts his own thoughts in addition to moderating the site.
The originality and traction of concept has led to real paying customers — including sponsors Squarespace and Freshbooks — in addition to a distribution partnership with PandoDaily for a weekly series that “Brings more credibility than traffic.”
What does anonymous mean in this context?
“We can see IP addresses, but that’s the extent of it,” Severson says, invoking the names of other (superficially) private communications services such as Secret and Whisper that are rising in popularity these days.
“It’s not a gossip site for trolls who create indulgence. It’s about being real and being a better entrepreneur as a result.”