P | P | P – feat. Newspage

We had the chance to chat with Jukka “Jay” Vaananen, the CEO of Newspage. Newspage brings together journalists and industry experts from small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).

The purpose of article series ‘Product | People | Potential’ is to feature and showcase the very best UK start-ups with grand potential, truly inspiring businesses that are shaking up their sector. We capture and share the stories behind the name. We collate authentic peer to peer real talk, while celebrating the growth and success thus far and gather a glimpse of what’s ahead.

Tareek @ ADLIB: Can you please introduce yourself, what your business does, what stage you are at currently and what makes your business and offering unique?

Jay: I’m Jukka “Jay” Vaananen, the CEO of Newspage.

Newspage brings together journalists and industry experts from small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).

Journalists can find vetted experts on Newspage to interview or provide insights for articles they are working on. For example, we get Newspage users featured in the Times, FT, BBC, SkyNews, etc.

What makes Newspage unique is that previously, businesses would have to get media exposure on their own or through a PR agency. The problem with going it alone is that most SMEs don’t know how to promote their expertise, they don’t know what makes a good news story. With using a PR agency, the problem is that PR agencies typically charge thousands of pounds, which is beyond the budget of most SMEs.

Newspage generates media coverage for its users for free or a monthly subscription at a fraction of what a PR agency would charge.

Right now we’re in an explosive growth phase, in the past few months, we have gone from around 2,000 to over 5,000 users and at the current rate we’ll hit 10,000 users by the end of April 2023.

Tareek @ ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the origin of your business and Service / Product?

Jay: The idea behind Newspage came about during the lockdown. Newspage founder Dominic Hiatt saw that PR was an elitist industry that priced out most SMEs. He also saw that it was SME owners and employees who provided stronger and clearer insights than most corporate spokespeople. This made for better articles and more readers for the publications.

The PR industry had a gaping hole where there was a rich pool of experts who were not given a voice in the media. Journalists are keen to publish new voices and strong views. Newspage simply built a platform to bring them together. Newspage is a win for journalists and a win for SMEs.

Tareek @ ADLIB: Speaking of People, can you share some challenges you have faced, are facing or are anticipating around scaling and growing your team? Do you have any top tips you could share with those businesses faced with the same issues?

Jay: With a small founder-driven team, personalities come to the fore. This results in clashes of opinions and emotions. I think it’s a good thing, I’d much rather have passion than corporate apathy. But it is a rollercoaster ride. My tip for not getting queasy on that rollercoaster is to be forgiving, to yourself and your colleagues, sometimes feelings run high and that’s okay, expect it and manage it. Learn to come back from conflict, because ultimately you all want the same thing: for the business to be a success. Hug it out after a disagreement and celebrate after a success.

Tareek @ ADLIB: Moving to Product, what has been your approach to understanding and implementing product market fit?

Jay: Shoot from the hip is our approach. We do not have the time or resources to go through long periods of planning, testing and implementing. So we go from idea to implementation quicker than Lewis Hamilton with his foot on the accelerator and we tweak from there. Clients are understanding, forgiving and, most importantly, helpful if you communicate your intentions clearly and are transparent. Always listen to your clients, there’s no business without them.

Tareek @ ADLIB: And then Potential, can you share some challenges or barriers you had to overcome to create a Product / Service offering with potential?

Jay: The media doesn’t like to write about the media and the media is our business. So, while we generate hundreds of pieces of media coverage every day for our users, it’s a challenge for us to get publicity for Newspage.

Another challenge is legacy. Some journalists rely on the same spokespeople. For example, with economic news, time and again, some journalists will quote the same economists sitting in their ivory towers in Canary Wharf. Instead, they could be quoting people from the front lines of the economy with real insights not gleaned from an Excel spreadsheet.

Tareek @ ADLIB: Investment can often be a challenge for start-ups & scale-ups. Do you have any piece of wisdom you could share around best approach?

Jay: Choose one of two paths based on your financial circumstances. Either investment or going it alone. If you can build your business with minimal outside financial backing and suffer some financial pain in the short term, then do that. Seeking outside investors is an investment of your time, often away from running the business. When you find an investor and they get on board, the investor will (understandably) have their own goals and demands, so your limited resources will be taken away from running the day-to-day of the business to dealing with them. Just be aware that with every pound of outside investment, you relinquish control and time, so be sure that the investment adds to growing the business and doesn’t become a hindrance. Ideally, with outside investment, they should bring not only money but also expertise.

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Start-up / Scale-up / Developers & Technology

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Tareek Lamhaouli