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Breaking the barrier…

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13 September 2010
Sebastian Stockmarr of Magma We continue our rotating Startupbootcamp blog series - our ten teams take turns sharing their thoughts and experiences on their Startupbootcamp adventure. This entry is by Sebastian Stockmarr, of Magma.

Who we are
We’re Magma – and by ʻweʼ I mean a developer, a businessman and a designer. What we are spending our days (and nights) on, as a part of Startupbootcamp, is a project management tool for digital and print magazines. To sum it up, we want to help editorial teams to spend more time creating quality content and less time in their inboxes looking for that article draft from last week and calling up freelancers to remind them of their deadlines. With regard to the personnel needed to start a new business, we’re pretty much a textbook example of what most people think of as a perfect match. We have the in-house skills necessary to create beautiful, functional web-based software that can earn money – and what more does one need? Well…

Our background
We all come from backgrounds in the tech industry, and together have accumulated around 25 yearsʼ worth of experience with e-business and the digital market. But what we’ve found out over the last couple of months is just how different the publishing world really is from the digital industry.

The challenge
Being techies, we are all constantly looking for newer, smarter ways to work, using new technologies to accomplish things faster, more easily or maybe just for the fun of it. From what we’ve found so far, this is almost the complete opposite of how small- to medium-sized publishing houses operate. The widespread solution for running and managing a publication is something home-made with Excel. The new breed of digital publishers, targeting online and iPad readers, is another story, however. We’re positive that once both types of publisher try our solution, they will love it; but the challenge for us now is to get them talking and trying it out.

The solution
Luckily, the concept and idea was conceived along with our fourth man, Jesper Andersen, who is the Editor in Chief of the Danish entrepreneur magazine, “Iværksætteren”. Jesper’s initial role was to work as a reality-check and expert user, having final say on how magazine production functions. But what has become more and more apparent, as we’ve moved from concept development to actually building a business, has been his massive network within the publishing industry. Besides Jesper’s commitment to Magma, we’ve had the immense pleasure of being accepted into Startupbootcamp, with all the fantastic benefits it brings.

From what we’ve gathered from the mentors and other teams at Startupbootcamp, as well as from Jesper Andersen, the three major solutions to our struggles to get in touch with the market are:

1. Use partners:
To establish a good foothold from day one, we will try to team up with partners from other parts of the value chain.

2. Get customers now:
We are working hard to acquire some great beta customers, who receive the product for free and have their opinions heard in exchange for providing us with a lot of the feedback we need.

3. Networking is key:
Without Startupbootcamp and Jesper Andersen, we would have spent countless months connecting with the mentors we’ve met over just this first couple of weeks. Also, working in an elite group of startups selected by VC professionals makes breaking through barriers a lot easier.

We are very excited about this whole process, and hope to have more to share with you in the future. If you have been through this challenge of breaking into a new market yourself, we would love to hear how you have taken this on and how it went!

-Sebastian Stockmarr
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