Modern newspapers for city-dwellers. WhereBy.Us operates city-centric local email newsletters (newspapers in the 21st century) that are lean and community focused. Their first newsletter was The New Tropic, which I read daily while living in Miami as a young professional and new transplant. Among my demographic, The New Tropic had almost universal name recognition, and had already expanded to Seattle, WA with The Evergrey at the time of my investment.


WhereBy.Us a.k.a. publishers of The New Tropic.

Minimum: $1000 Crowd Note, July 2017

*This deal memo was written a year later in Aug 2018, some thoughts may have hindsight bias.



If yes to investment:

Why investing

I was a user and customer of the product—both in reading and going to the events. In addition, everyone in Miami who was my demographic (young, professional, new to Miami) recommended it.

What the risks are

  1. The business is not as scalable as previously thought—what’s the advantage of having one national WhereBy.Us rather than Seattle, Orlando and each city having their own corporation? The only upside seems to be the software backbone and playbook.
  2. Uncertain the membership model will work unless people really feel clear, unequivocal value.
  3. Are the readers action takers? I went to events, and bought tickets to WhereBy.Us events, but seldom clicked ads or paid for things there. If the ROI isn’t there, firms may pay less in marketing dollars.

What has to go right for the startup to return money on investment

  1. The sense of community created in each vertical has to make readers tip in action orientation—healthy core subscribers, event attendance, demonstrating return on investment for exposure.
  2. Other cities and their funding/entrepreneurial ecosystems miss the timing of launching similar Knight-funded newsletter companies.
  3. Launching cities, brands, and teams becomes a highly routine process where the company is in 6-12 markets by 2020.

Review these deal memos every time the startup raises a new round

Test if original thesis still applies

Notice trends in how you think

If no to

Want to read the whole post?

You don't have access to this post on Startup Investing for All by Muhan Zhang at the moment, but if you upgrade your account you'll be able to see the whole thing, including comments, as well as all the other posts in the archive! Subscribing only takes a few seconds and will give you immediate access.