The world is changing and technology is permeating all aspects of our work and social lives. And while there are plenty of publications out there currently talking about tech, Alex Wood, Founder and Editor In Chief of The Memo, believes no-one is talking about why this pervasiveness matters. Fundamentally, The Memo was set-up to ask the question and find the answers of will these changes really mean and how they will impact us.
We spoke to Wood to get the lowdown on The Memo, how it came to be the publication it is today and what it has in store for the future.
Let’s kick off by describing in your words what The Memo is and what it does
The Memo is a business and lifestyle publication with the mission to Make the Future More Human by explaining and challenging technological innovations to determine what they mean for businesses, individuals and society.
Led by myself, The Memo reaches over 500,000 professionals each month. Through daily reports, newsletters and videos, readers trust The Memo as the definitive guide to the future. The 7-strong team boasts experts from across the media, including previous experience at the Bloomberg, the BBC, City AM, Fusion TV, The Guardian and GQ Magazine.
Since launching in April 2015, the publication has picked up 4 industry awards, including News Website of the Year and Best Site for Specialist Journalism at the Online Media Awards.
What’s The Memo’s unique selling point?
The publication boasts an unrivalled network across the mainstream media. It provides an intelligent perspective on the latest technological developments with an unbiased eye. The publication does not pander to ‘clickbait’ and its editorial team seek to get to the heart of what each new innovation in business, at home and in society truly mean for the individual. Furthermore, at a time of consolidation in the media industry and shrinking revenues, The Memo has been built on a sustainable model which ensures high quality editorial content with no compromises.
In 2016 the publication was featured in print, television and radio over 100 times, cementing the its position as a thought leader in future trends.
What’s your personal background?
I’m an editor and broadcaster with eight years of experience covering technology and business. I’m also a regular industry commentator on BBC News, Sky, CNN and CNBC, as well as writing for The Guardian’s Media and Technology section. I’m also a visiting lecturer at Britain’s leading journalism school at City University, training the next generation of broadcast journalists.
What inspired you to start the company?
The Memo is the magazine I’ve always dreamed of building. When I left Tech City News to set-up The Memo, I asked myself: “Why should I set up another tech publication?” The answer, I believed, was that tech is now part of our everyday lives but no other tech publication is talking about why this pervasiveness matters. The world is changing and tech is permeating all aspects of our work and social lives. Fundamentally, The Memo was set-up to ask the question and find the answers of will these changes really mean and how they will impact us.
The team covers every aspect of daily life, from fashion, media, finance, mindfulness, design, marketing and dating. For example, our senior reporter Oliver Smith came from City AM and covers the business world and Kitty Knowles, our features writer joined us from GQ magazine and covers the changes that affect our personal lives. Our team get excited by introducing people to new ideas.
How has The Memo grown from launch to the company it is now?
The Memo has grown rapidly since its inception and is now a strong team of 7 combining editorial, operations, sales and digital functions. Although based in London, The Memo has correspondents in New York, San Francisco and Paris.
In December last year, we secured £280,000 in funding from leading investors in publishing and finance, including Andrew Dixon, Enterprise Fellow at the Prince’s Trust and founder of Arc InterCapital, and Paul Field, former Daily Mail Executive. The funding is being used to build on the publication’s exponential early growth, to acquire further editorial and operational talent as well as expand into the United States, where it already has a significant audience.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest challenge we had to overcome was building our brand in a crowded market. We decided the smartest way would be to position ourselves as thought leaders by partnering with existing media. In the past year alone we have been featured on TV, radio, print and online over 100 times, introducing us to new audiences and building a strong brand.
What’s your biggest milestone
Being a startup, we have worked with limited resources to service our fast-growing audience. We’ve made use of the latest tools, allowing us to live and breathe innovative ways of work and then share what we learn with our readers.
Tell us about your business model
Our mission at The Memo has been to build a sustainable model that does not compromise on editorial integrity or quality. On the editorial side, we focus on a core audience and on quality over quantity – limiting the publication to five stories per day.
To ensure we could operate in a self-sufficient manner, we launched Creative Agenda, a new agency offering branding, photography, print and video production. In order to protect ourselves from editorial bias, we don’t offer any communications or PR services through our agency.
With a strong editorial team and a revenue model with a clear path to self-sufficiency, the business can continue to grow and cut through the noise online with a distinctive and compelling voice.
What’s the next step for growth – do you aim to grow the business independently, or look for an exit via acquisition or similar?
We are focused on our future growth, US expansion plans and continuing to deliver high quality journalism, whilst being open to all new opportunities and possibilities. If an opportunity arose to sell, I would want to remain independent within a larger stable.
And finally, will you be looking for more funding?