Street Fight at Two: Looking Back, Looking Forward
A lot can happen in two years. Consider that two years ago, Apple still ran under the guidance of Steve Jobs; Marissa Mayer wasn’t Yahoo’s CEO; Instagram was barely off the ground; Patch was rapidly expanding into towns and neighborhoods all over the country; Foursquare was gaining users and logging check-ins at a rapid clip; and Groupon (and the daily deals category, generally) seemed unstoppable.
When we first launched Street Fight in April of 2011, we saw a lot of energy coming together around consumer targeting by location. It was a great confluence of trends: technologies that allowed for much more precise targeting of consumers were sparking an abundance of apps that let consumers play and buy goods and services based on their location; a rapid uptick in consumer adoption of smartphones; a proliferation of “hyperlocal” publishers who were reinventing local media relationships with readers and advertisers; and, well, a down economy that had marketers looking for better and more trackable ROI on their spending. Daily deals, for one, offered something that seemed to deliver the right consumers who would move merchandise in an efficient, low-cost manner. (As a standalone business, daily deals has since shown its shortcomings.)
There was a general sense that an “industry” of super-smart, forward-looking people was coalescing around the idea of “local,” location-targeting, and services for small business owners. Borrowing from its traditional association with publishing, we called this industry “hyperlocal,” and it continues to evolve as the local marketing puzzle pieces begin to come together as geotargeting mobile platforms, point-of-sale systems, loyalty plays, local commerce and SMB marketing services all redefine the old local media landscape.
We launched Street Fight on a shoestring, with a daily content site and email newsletter, and a few very dedicated people dutifully turning in regular content who believed, like us, in the potential of this industry. From the outset we defined it as our mission to provide whatever the industry needed to land upon sustainable business models: We would deliver insight, resources, and a community for hyperlocal entrepreneurs. And looking back on the past two years, it has been so validating to see the industry coalesce around what we’ve offered. We watched our site quickly became a must-read destination, and our newsletter, Street Fight Daily, an essential source of morning news in hyperlocal. Of course, it’s one thing to meet in cyberspace, but we knew it was imperative to bring the industry together to learn and network and so six months after we debuted the site, we hosted the first Street Fight Summit in New York. We’ve since followed up by with an annual San Francisco conference, Street Fight Summit West, and our research arm, Street Fight Insights, which has produced several white papers and webinars.
Looking ahead, we have big plans. You’ll get more white papers from us that will help you make important strategy and budgeting decisions. You’ll also be able to turn to us for custom research specific to your business. And what’s more important than bringing the buy-side into the mix? Look for an upcoming exciting development on that front.
We’re in the infancy of the hyperlocal story, and we’re looking forward to growing apace with the innovative companies we cover.
There are a lot of people who have made Street Fight what it is, starting with the launch core group. Street Fight is what it is thanks to the tremendous efforts of our dynamite staff and contributors, without whom we really wouldn’t have been able to do any of this.
These include our tireless deputy editor Steven Jacobs, who gets up early each morning to compile our newsfeed, and contributes lots of great analysis pieces to the site; our associate editor Stephanie Miles, who has contributed multiple weekly features since the site began; our sales manager Jill Mant, who has really helped take us to the other side of profitability this year; our intern-turned-editorial-assistant Isa Jones, who has contributed some great pieces to the site and helped out in a variety of ways; and the newest member of our team, our marketing manager Kendra Wiig.
They also include the many people who have contributed really excellent regular columns to the site over the past couple of years, including Rick Robinson, Tom Grubisich, Alex Salkever, Noah Davis, Pat Kitano, Damian Rollison, Matt Sokoloff, Kelly Benish, Brian Dengler, Asif Khan, Michael Boland, Patrick Duprey, and a number of others. Their insights and wisdom are really what has made the site into the go-to destination for information about hyperlocal.
And we’re also grateful to our investors and advisors, for believing in our idea from very early on. These include USA Today president and Marketwatch founder Larry Kramer; Mercury Group principal and former Condé Nast executive Jeff Lundwall; Wells Fargo executive Steve Hawk; Trada chief revenue officer Warren Kay; media attorney and former AOL executive Brian Dengler; angel investor and former Examiner.com CEO Rick Blair; and Atwood Capital Partners. And finally we’d like to point out the hard work of our events partners at The Syndicate, Evolutionary Events, and Magnify, who have helped make the Street Fight Summit into a mainstay of the industry.
Lastly, we’d like to thank all of our readers and supporters. We’ve enjoyed the ride so far and look forward to bringing you even more of the latest news, research and community around hyperlocal business in the coming years.
— Laura Rich and David Hirschman, co-founders