I had lofty goals of sending out a monthly update to keep you informed with what projects I’m working on this year, but that goal fell flat on its face like most New Year’s resolutions. There’s a lot going on at MarketBeat, in my personal life and in the Sioux Falls entrepreneurship scene, so I thought now would be a good time to send out a “not quite” monthly update.
Here are some things that are going on that you might find interesting if you follow my work:
Entrepreneurial Leadership and Community
John Meyer and I recently finalized the fall 1 Million Cups calendar. We have the best line-up of speakers we’ve ever had, including many big names in our community that you will want to hear from. We will be announcing our fall schedule at our kick-off event on September 5th with Dr. Brian Maher from the Sioux Falls School District. John and I are also working with Zeal and the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce to hold a celebration event for entrepreneurship on September 13th called Hey Sioux Falls. We’ll be giving out six awards to local individuals and businesses that have made significant contributions to the Sioux Falls Startup Community at the event. Innovation Expo is also coming up in October, but regretfully I won’t be able to attend this year due to a schedule conflict.
I have also taken on a new volunteer role at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship. I have been serving on its board since the spring and have recently been named part of an interim executive team (IET) to manage the organization after the recent departure of their executive director. Along with Will Bushee from BrightPlanet and Laurie Knutson most recently from Embe, we will be managing the organization’s staff, providing strategic direction and taking a very hands-on role for the next several months. Zeal is currently going through a strategic planning process and I’m incredibly optimistic about what’s going to come out of that. I think we will see Zeal make a significant transformation over the next several years and I’m excited to be a part of that.
Launching Faith Baptist Fellowship West
Last fall, Faith Baptist Fellowship raised nearly $750,000 to launch a new campus on the west side of Sioux Falls. After several months of planning, construction and setup, our facility is now ready to hold weekly worship services. Many volunteers, including Karine and I, have put in untold hours of manual labor to get this building ready. We’re incredibly thrilled with how it came together and we had between 350 and 400 people attend our open house last week. We’ll be holding worship services at 10:00 AM every Sunday beginning on September 9th at Faith Baptist West, located at 26th and Tea-Ellis Road next to Shenanigans. We would love to have you join us on a Sunday.
Falls Angel Fund
Falls Angel Fund now has six portfolio companies we have invested in, including Bushel, Equinox, Fresh Bar, Learn Create Build, Montessorium, Myriad Mobile and WalkSmart. We also setup a second fund called FAF Aquatech Investors to invest $1 million into Prairie Aquatech this year. We have several deals in the works and hope to announce new investments in the next couple of months. We’ve got room to do about three or four more deals in our current fund and will likely be looking to launch a second fund as we get closer to investing our full $1.35 million capitalization.
MarketBeat Growth Plans
2018 has been a significant year of growth for MarketBeat. We were named to the Inc. 5000 list for the third year in a row and we are on track for 50% year-over-year growth from 2017 to 2018. I can attribute some of this growth to a significant increase in paid advertising. We spent $288,000 in advertising in 2017 and have spent $516,000 in advertising year-to-date in 2018. We’ve identified several new advertising platforms that allow us to cheaply and effectively acquire new email sign-ups for our newsletter and we now have more than 660,000 subscribers on our mailing list. What probably made the biggest difference this year is that MarketBeat really was my full-time job. I didn’t write any books this year or start any new businesses and I reduced the amount of time I spent consulting for other businesses. By focusing on the business that was working, we were able to see substantial growth in the company.
Feature wise, there’s been several improvements to the MarketBeat website this year. We launched a new homepage this summer and added a number of new financial calendars to the website. We’re also focusing heavily on content by publishing a significant volume of multi-page articles and evergreen educational content about investing.
This year has been a whirlwind of travel for us. So far, we’ve been to Maui, San Diego, Orlando, Minneapolis, Edmonton, Myrtle Beach and Las Vegas this year. Thankfully, my 2018 travel schedule will wind down in the fall. The only trip I currently have planned is heading back to Vegas in October for Rhodium Weekend, where I’ll be rubbing elbows with ~100 other seasoned online entrepreneurs for a few days.
We have a kindergartener at home now. Micah started Kindergarten last Thursday at Discovery Elementary and he couldn’t be more excited. Adylin is finally starting to stand up more often and we’re hopeful she’ll be walking before the end of the year.
That’s about it for now!