My Monthly Update — November, 2017

It’s been about a month since I sent out my last update, but here’s what’s been going on that you might find interesting:

– MarketBeat is continuing to grow and it’s growing in a way that I hadn’t expected. Much of the growth has come from selling subscriptions. Currently about 2/3rds of our revenue is from advertising and about 1/3rd is from subscription. In the last 6 months, we’ve grown from about $525,000 in ARR (annual recurring revenue) to about $700,000 in ARR. I can attribute this to a few minor changes that we made. First, we surveyed our users and asked what features of MarketBeat’s services they use the most and why the subscribe to the service. We took that feedback and rewrote our auto-responder series to match what our users told us. Second, we made it so that any discounts a user might receive from signing up during a campaign are only valid for the first year. That means they might get a $50 discount on their first year’s subscription, but everyone pays full price after that. Third, we’ve raised our prices from $16/$35 a month to $20/$40 per month for MarketBeat Daily Premium and MarketBeat All Access respectively. We are also testing some new landing pages designed by Taylor Hendricksen that may help with our conversion rates. I am hoping to hit $1 million in ARR by next fall.

– We are also significantly expanding the content offerings on MarketBeat. We’ve recently added income statements and balance sheets to all of our company profile pages. We will soon be adding SEC filings to company profile pages as well. We are also launching several new market calendars with real-time market data to make our website more sticky and more useful to our users. These pages will also help us compete for some relatively competitive rankings in Google. The first one is a page that has 52-week highs and lows. We have about five more in the works that we plan on launching before the end of the year.

– I’ve been serving as co-chair of a capital campaign called Stepping Forward at my church (Faith Baptist Fellowship). We’re trying to raise $900,000 to fund the launch of a second location and a remodel of our existing facility. It’s been very energizing to be able to use some of my business skills (copywriting, marketing and project management) and apply them in a non-profit setting. We handed our out commitment cards at church last Sunday and the committment period will go through the end of January.

– I won the Spirit of Enterprise Award from South Dakota’s Enterprise Institute this year and was arguably the first customer of Lyft in Sioux Falls.

– I recently attended the Rhodium Weekend conference in Las Vegas. It was my fourth Rhodium Weekend event and easily the best that I’ve been to. I’m still working through all of the ideas and relationships that I picked up at the event. My next trip is the Capitalism Conference in December in Austin, TX and Traffic and Conversion in March in San Diego, CA. My wife and I will also be taking a trip to Maui in January to get away for a week.

– Falls Angel Fund has voted to make its fifth investment and have deployed $770,000 of our $1.35 million capitalization. Our first investment was Myriad Mobile out of Fargo. We have also invested in Montessorium, Learn Create Build and Equinox all out of Sioux Falls. We haven’t written the check on our fifth company yet, so I can’t share the name of that company yet. At this rate, we can probably do about 3 more $150,000 deals before closing up the fund. Assuming the first fund goes well, I suspect we could see a Falls Angel Fund II take shape as soon as 2019.

That’s about it for now!