In a continuation of our series on startups, we decided to interview Bob Berger co-founder of Nutricula Magazine. Nutricula: The Science of Longevity Journal is an online magazine that was founded from scratch two years ago, with no venture capital funding. This extremely successful online publication now receives 3.5 million page views a month from readers all over the world.
Let's start by having you describe your online magazine.
Nutricula Magazine was created two years ago. Nutricula is the science of longevity, living as long and as healthy as possible. The name comes from turritopsis nutricula, a jellyfish that has the ability to live forever. It starts out as a polyp, becomes a jellyfish, and eventually reverts to a new polyp colony. We actually have Nutricula as a registered trademark. The magazine is published monthly, and appears as a flip magazine; however, we have discovered that most people end up reading the articles on blogs.
How did you happen to come up with the idea for the magazine?
We have an organic health factory farm, and we were looking for ways to market it. We were considering creating a magazine for a long time. It is an online magazine, however, we did print 200 issues for the first month. We publish scientific views and commentary by qualified individuals, doctors, scientists, clinicians, nutritionists, even veterinarians, as we feature articles on pet health also, and are planning a pet magazine. We have now advanced to videos for the magazine, which we call rich media, which includes audio, video, and 3D technology. We're not just looking at the present, but at future health issues; the future of health, living, and longevity. We also want to be able to answer readers' individual questions, not just providing general articles.
Who do you consider your direct competitors?
We don't have any as far as readership. Because we are a free magazine, it brings in more interest and readers. Some of the companies that advertise with us might be considered competitors, but they aren’t really direct competitors.
How do you go about marketing your magazine?
We strive to create the best content as possible. We do that by getting writers from all over the United States and even all over the world. They mention their article on Facebook (FB) and Twitter, and to their friends and associates, then their friends and associates mention it on Facebook, Twitter, and so on. We choose our articles based on what people are looking for on the Internet.
If you had Googled "nutricula" a year ago, it would come up with results about the jellyfish for the first couple pages. Now if you Google it, Nutricula Magazine comes up as number two on the list. When people are looking for something organically, such as diabetes or breast cancer, Nutricula articles will come up very high in the search engine rankings.
Two years ago, we didn't have any ranking at all. Last year, according to Alexa, we were in the top 500,000 in the world and the top 200,000 in the United States. Now we are between 40,000 and 50,000 in the world and in the top 7,500 in the US. Having unique content helps. Also, we are careful about the ads we have; so no pop-ups as that can affect our rankings.
What is your current staffing level like? Do you have a lot of people working for you besides your authors?
No. It's just me and Dalmo Accorsini, the other co-founder of Nutricula. Just the two of us. But another way to look at it is we have a huge staff, which is made up of our authors around the world who are willing to contribute to our magazine.
Can you give us an idea of what the growth of your online magazine has been?
Obviously, we started out at zero two years ago. Now we get 3.5 million page views a month. Our goal for next year is to get 10 million views a month, and we expect to get a lot of that through Apple (AAPL) iPhones, iPads, and Kindles.
How did you get your original funding for the company? Any venture capital investments?
It is all self-funded. It is just the two of us that post the content and do the work. If we did have venture capital funding at the beginning, I'm not sure that we would have had the same quality that we have now.
How do you generate income for your magazine? Through advertising; however, we are very selective on who advertises with us. We did have to turn down a few companies. We don't want to compromise the quality of the magazine with an advertiser that may have issues.
What do you consider your biggest challenges relating to running your business?
Time. We've run a number of issues meeting a monthly deadline. The other issue is keeping up with demand for additional information. But the big thing is having the time to coordinate everything and putting everything together.
Can you let us in on any new magazines or other businesses on the horizon?
We are revamping our Petological Magazine, our pet magazine, since pets are a huge business. Our Nutricula Magazine is going to be more interactive with more rich media.
What is your long-term goal for the company?
We're seeing where it's going. The more the magazine is recognized, the better.
Any suggestions for someone that wants to start their own online magazine or other type of business?
Stay the course. When someone starts a business, and they don't see a lot of growth at first, they give up after a few months. They should find a field that's important to them.
Thank you for your time and insight.
Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed.
Dr. Bob Berger holds Doctorates in Nutritional Biochemistry, (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tn.), and in Bio-Pharmacology, (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.), as well as a Master of Veterinary Science, (MVSc), and an MS in Nutrition and Human Physiology, (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC). He is the Editor-In-Chief and President of Nutricula Dr. Berger is also a Co-Founder of THFF and Nutricula.
No investment recommendation nor any investment promotion is expressed or implied by either Stockerblog.com, the interviewer, Nutricula, or the interviewee.