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Terry Boyd: Why Dispatches is the new new thing in digital media

(Editor’s note: Terry Boyd is co-founder and co-CEO of Dispatches, based at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Netherlands.)

When we started our first digital media company in 2010, advertising executive Pip Pullen would ask me at our weekly coffee sit-down, “So, Boyd, what exactly is Insider Louisville? I’m looking at it, but I don’t know what it is.”

Pip had a point … it was like nothing anyone was used to seeing. For me, IL was self-evident – a news and information website by and for insiders. So I didn’t think we needed to say that out loud. But of course he was right … Pip has an annoying habit of always being right.

Dispatches Europe is different … more complicated and on an incredibly ambitious scale. So, I’m going to take a moment to lay it out. Pip, this is for you, bro’.

I swear I remember posting about who we are and our plans for Dispatches Europe when our beta version went live back in 2015. But when I tried to find that original post, I couldn’t. Then my wife and co-CEO Cheryl reminded me I posted it on LinkedIn along with links to our first pitch decks laying out our early ideas about a unit-cost-of-content model with lots of moving pieces.

As it always happens in the startup world, what we thought Dispatches would be isn’t what it is now.

The global mobility of talent

In 2015, we were building a vehicle for advertisers and businesses/partners to reach millions of expats in Europe, particularly the highly skilled internationals sought after by multinationals based in every innovation center. And we still are in 2019.

But in four years, we’ve refined our vision and made it a lot more ambitious. We’re still all about the global mobility of talent. But Dispatches has morphed from being our main brand to being one company under the Dispatches Media umbrella … an extension of our core business.

Our billboard on the side of the Internet, if you will.

Best of all, we’re making money at a time when few pure play digital media companies such as Dispatches have the scale to survive on the legacy subscription/advertising model.

To succeed, we’ve created a new concept – strategic media. Strategic media generates revenue by identifying, then catalyzing, a strategic market – in this case, the 50 million expats in the world. Then we harmonize that audience with the long-term goals of our clients, including economic-development agencies.

Translated, that means we’re active media, not passive. We don’t just post content; we curate information for a select group of people. Then, when we have special projects, or our clients need talent, we tap into that audience. So, in essence, we’re a digital services firm with our own media company – a media company we can deploy for ourselves and our clients.

Let’s take it all apart and look at the pieces, because in three years, we’ve done a lot.

Dispatches Media

Dispatches is our holding company that includes Dispatches Europe, Tech Sister Cites and Tier1 Tech Talent. Dispatches Europe is an expat lifestyle platform with revenue coming from sponsored content, marketing and communications and marketing services.

In aggregate, Europe accounts for the majority of our traffic, but our largest single audience by far is the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Canada, Italy, India and Portugal.

Each month, we reach people in at least 138 countries. In the US, our largest audience is in Silicon Valley/San Francisco.

Dispatches has more than 20 contributors in a dozen countries including the Netherlands, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Portugal and Greece. In Europe, our largest audiences are in the expat centers of London, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Berlin and Paris in that order.

In the future, Dispatches is adding more proprietary tech while spinning off landing pages with more localized information on housing, careers and other information. We have investors in the United States and Singapore.

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