LondonlovesBusiness.com founder Mike Bokaie gives his verdict on our first 12 months
Friends said I was mad to launch this business.
They said it was a recession. They said the online content model is unproven.
Just look at The Guardian racking up a loss of £75.6m.
I went ahead anyway.
One year on and the champagne is sparkling on my desk. LondonlovesBusiness.com is working as a business and is building a phenomenal reputation as a news site.
We have cash coming through the door. Blue chip organisations such as Hays, DHL, IBM, KPMG, Bibby Financial Services and Lloyds TSB have generously supported us.
We’ve enjoyed incredible help from the organisations which make London tick: the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the British Library, London & Partners and the City of London Corporation are our official partners.
Last week we shook hands with London First, the body which represents the interests of more than 300 of the capital’s biggest employers.
How do we do it?
In a word: journalism.
I could keep you here all day listing the stories we’ve broken
We break stories. We get the best interviews. And our stable of columnists is pure thoroughbred.
Read The Telegraph and you might find a report on what UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said.
Read LondonlovesBusiness.com and you can hear from Nige directly via his exclusive column.
We’ve published diatribes from hedge-fund legend Alan Miller and beer writer Pete Brown. My personal favourite columnist… AdMan: Why I don’t endorse advertising as a worthwhile industry. I can see why he’s the king of his profession.
Our interviews are hard hitting.
This heart-to-heart with Bernie Ecclestone was the longest and most detailed you’ll find. The journalist knows him personally, and writes the guide to the finances of Formula One which is relied on by the teams and sponsors. Access like that is what makes us special.
I keep could keep you here all day listing the stories we’ve broken. The last time we met Ken Clarke the Tory Party was forced to issue an official rebuttal.
When 4G mobile launched who had the exclusive interview with the guy making it happen?
Naturally, our running costs are high. We have a strong in-house team of writers. Our office in St James, right by Buckingham Palace, is half a notch up from the usual start-up shoebox.
Everything we publish is bespoke. The “content aggregation” model so common on the internet is interesting, but not for us.
So what’s next?
My co-founder Graham Sherren, the man who built Centaur Publishing into one of the greatest publishing houses in Europe, and I, have one wish for the next year. And it’s not about money (we’ve proved we can take care of that side of the business).
It is to make a serious impact in helping London remain the best place in the world to do business. Dubai, New York and Tokyo are our rivals. They are ferocious competitors.
But they’ll have a hard job catching London.
We’ll spend the next year making damn sure of that.