Responses from Chief Executive Vic Belonogoff
How has your company evolved since it was founded?
One of the most profound changes to the company can be traced back to 2013 when our news vertical, Opposing Views, was covering the government shutdown. Up until that point, we had been largely focused on more traditional article-style content and search engine optimization, but with the massive wave of reactions to the shutdown happening on social media, we decided to ask our audience to weigh in on the Opposing Views Facebook page. This resulted in people sharing and commenting on our content at a much higher rate than we’d ever seen.
Render Media Inc.
BUSINESS: Digital publisher
TWO-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 1,447 percent
2015 REVENUE: $7.6 million
How has the company been funded?
Render Media has been funded by angel investors. We’ve never done an institutional round of funding. This has forced us to be smart about where we choose to grow the company and how we spend our money and it’s helped us be creative.
What did you do to achieve this rate of growth?
We have primarily focused on social and creating really engaging content that audiences don’t just scroll past on their feeds. We want to connect with the people who interact with our content.
Who were your key advisers in the process?
Gil Elbaz, brother of Render co-founder Eytan Elbaz and chief executive of Factual, has been and remains one of our key advisers and mentors. He has always urged us to think of the big picture and how we can keep pushing ourselves.
How did you manage the growing workload?
People are what give a company character and propel it to success, so we’ve been very focused on adding key people to the team as we grow. Because our funding has been so limited, we’ve been very methodical about adding people, but as we’ve continued to grow, our staff has expanded from five employees in 2011 to 38 full-time employees today.
What were the biggest obstacles hindering your growth and how did you overcome them?
We never got a big round of financing. We’ve had to bootstrap for a long time, but ultimately, even though things took a little longer in the beginning, we made much smarter decisions. We are a company that will try anything once.
Is there still room to grow in your current market or will you seek to expand into new areas?
There is a massive opportunity to keep growing in the digital media space. People are spending more time consuming social and digital content as time goes on, so we will continue to evolve with the ever-changing trends in this space and we are well-positioned to do so.
How will you manage expectations going forward?
We have to respond to what the data is telling us, and sometimes that means making difficult decisions like putting a property we’ve worked tirelessly to build on the back burner.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
One of the things I would have done differently would be to streamline focus in terms of our properties. Building memorable digital brands is not an easy task. You have to work with massive amounts of data to determine the type of content that your audience will like, but you also have to operate on an emotional level to determine what they will really connect with and want to share with their friends and families.
How has your location in the L.A. area played into your company’s growth?
I met my co-founder Eytan at UCLA where we were college roommates and played in a band together. Almost a third of our employees started as interns when they were students at a Los Angeles-based university. I think our company has succeeded in Los Angeles because we have an amazing talent pool here. Los Angeles is home to some of the top universities in the world. It’s also a mecca for creative people focused on the more artistic side of business, such as video editing and production.
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