Create Online Magazines with PersonSpot

September 3, 2012

10:45 am

In July, two of the YouTube cofounders unveiled Zeen, a tool to create online magazines full of your favorite web links. Medium, launched in August by the Twitter cofounders’ Obvious Corporation, is also trying to rethink publishing.

Joining them in their mission is PersonSpot, a new angel-funded startup out of Washington, DC. Cofounder Ioannis Velissarakos, a serial entrepreneur who has worked for 15 years in global startups, explains how the idea came together.

Tech Cocktail: Who does PersonSpot target?

Ioannis Velissarakos: PersonSpot is a social publishing application that allows users to publish online social magazines with content they identify through their social feeds, discover on the web, or create themselves. Initially, PersonSpot targets individuals who are looking to express, promote, or define themselves or their business, and ultimately create value for their personal brand by informing others. In the very near future, PersonSpot will expand its reach beyond the business-to-consumer audience and into the enterprise market.

PersonSpot launched its official beta release on August 22nd.

Tech Cocktail: Describe a crucial decision for PersonSpot. 

Velissarakos: I think that any startup is an organization in search of a scalable business model and a perfect fit between its products and the market. Searching is inevitable and in fact necessary, if you ask me. The more you search, the more you find yourself wondering whether the solution you are trying to come up with is the right one. Unless you have magic abilities, you reach a point where you pivot your product and the direction of the company.

We were fortunate to have some very dedicated alpha users on our site. On top of that, we were lucky enough to present our concept to some of the most well respected VCs of this area. We noticed that it was one particular feature that was getting their attention the most. At the end of a thorough process, we decided that we had to refocus our product to that specific feature.

More than six months later, we couldn’t be happier that we had our pivotal moment early enough in the development process. The company is in its expansion course because of that moment in time.

Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about your team?

Velissarakos: Some members of our team have more than 15 years of experience in multinational startups. But all of us have known each other for quite some time. We always wanted to work together, but we never got the opportunity to do so. We made it happen with PersonSpot. Currently, our team is located in two different parts of the world. Some of us are located in the Washington, DC, area, while some others are located in Athens, Greece.

Velissarakos (right) with cofounder Angelo Kostopoulos

PersonSpot was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail DC mixer in August.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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