Spot.us founder talks challenges of bringing startup to scale (Video)
Spot.us founder and director David Cohn worked with the student team that presented the winning business plan April 25 at the Reynold's Journalism Institute's RJInnovation Week. Photo by Michael Stacy.
As he has worked to bring his nonprofit startup to scale recently, David Cohn hasn't encountered any shortage of people willing to help.
Cohn is the founder and director of Spot.us, a web-based platform for community-funded journalism that we reported on last week. Spot.us allows the public to commission and participate with journalists to report on important and perhaps overlooked topics.
Cohn launched Spot.us in late 2008 and has worked for the last year as a Donald W. Reynolds Fellow at the University of Missouri's Reynolds Journalism Institute. He spent the spring semester working with a team of journalism and business students whose semester-long class project was, in essence, to help Spot.us solve the problem of scalability.
"Really, it was about figuring out what different scenarios in terms of our growth would happen," Cohn said, "and what types of investment we would need and how long with what type of growth we would eventually break even."
The team that worked with Spot.us was one of five student teams that participanted in the project, which partnered student teams with journalism-related business ventures in hopes of devising solutions to problems those businesses are currently facing. The teams presented their solutions to a panel of judges and other symposium participants on April 25, during RJInnovation Week at the Reynolds Institute. The Spot.us team won the competition, and two days later Cohn sat down for an interview with us.
We split the video of our interview with Cohn into two parts. Part two (below) picks up midway through the conversation, as Cohn reflects on his year as a Reynolds Fellow and semester spent working with a team of Missouri graduate students and looks ahead to the future of Spot.us. To get up to speed on Cohn's story and the history of Spot.us, check out part one of the interview.