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Five Alive! Part III


Minyanville is a humble community, one that only exists because folks like you choose to be a part of it.

Refer back to Five Alive! Part I and Part II before diving into the final installment...

Six the Hard Way Baby!

By the time 2006 arrived, we were juggling our day-to-day operations with the legwork needed to forge new ground. Minyanville was, until that point, a financial information website. While that was a nice little niche, it was simply a spoke in the wagon wheel of ancillary markets we collectively envisioned.

Early that year, while at a cocktail reception in upstate New York, Kevin ran into a former client of his named Charlie Mangano. In his previous existence, Charlie was the global head of brand management for Merrill Lynch for sixteen years. Since then, after a brief stint as the Deutsche Bank Asset Management CMO, he spent most of his time surfing and playing guitar.

They got to talking and a few weeks later, we all grabbed dinner. We like to say that there's an ethos in Minyanville-a gestalt, if you will-and Charlie got it. I wasn't sure we could afford him but knew it was a matter of time before he climbed aboard the Minyan Express.

He eventually did and currently serves as our CMO.

We were feverishly working to establish core relationships and strategic initiatives for the Minyanville community. We've always believed that you're a reflection of the company you keep and it's never been our style to think small. We set our sights on the best in breed and made inroads with each relationship.

As the summer of '06 arrived, 270 Minyans gathered in Vail Colorado for MIM3. It was an amazing experience and a lesson in humility given the long, hard road it took to get there. I've always said that the definition of professional nirvana is to do what you love with people you trust while serving the greater good. It was becoming increasingly clear that Minyanville was more than a business venture.

It was a way of life.


We were growing and we had momentum. What we needed, however, was more time for the fruit to flourish. We didn't raise much money in the first round as we wanted to keep the equity close. We believed-and continue to believe-that the best and brightest days for Minyanville are ahead of us.

While dreams are nice, they don't pay the bills and as we looked ahead to 2007, we knew we had to tap the market. That's a time consumptive process which, combined with the effort behind our first Annual Critter's Choice Awards, absorbed much of our time heading into the home stretch of last year.

It was a critical juncture that I imagine arrives for most small companies as they face the competitive landscape. We were young, hungry and extremely ambitious. We had a strong product, scalability across vertical segments and a seasoned management team. It was time to either stand up or step out.

We stepped.

As spring sprung in Minyanville this year, we locked working capital, moved into an office twice the size (half the cost of our previous space) and signed deals with the strategic relationships we worked to procure. In the process, our community grew to over 35 professors with Minyans in more than 100 countries.

We also brought Hoofy and Boo to life. A few years ago, while meeting with the head of a major studio, we showed him the critter maquettes. He said "They're great, but who are they? This is like putting Bart Simpson in front of me without a voice."

Thus began the process that created the world's first animated news show. The critters, once a figment of my active imagination, were now chock full of perspective, personality, human and wisdom. Kevin always said that Hoofy and Boo were the two sides of my persona but they were bigger than that now. They were tangible and they were awesome.

But Wait, There's More!

As we kick off the fourth quarter, we've got some seriously exciting things on tap for ye faithful.

In the coming weeks, we'll unleash the beast that is MV Kids. This will be an immersive, massive multiplayer online community where children learn to earn, spend, save and give. They'll be able to choose a critter and feed, clothe and house 'em. It will introduce "life skills" and seed the building blocks of financial awareness.

Next month, we'll be rolling out The Exchange, which is a suite of social networking tools. Minyans will have the ability to connect with other Minyans around the world and expand their network within our community. It's sorta like Minyans in the Mountains, twenty-four seven, minus the S'Mores.

As we're always working for you, major announcements are coming soon that will knock your socks off and cement our critters as fixtures within the financial environment. We could share the fare now but, alas, you'll know soon enough. Suffice to say that it's one of the most exciting developments in the history of the 'Ville.

Finally, we'll be gathering ye faithful for the Minyanville "Circle of Trust" Holiday Festivus to benefit Children's Education on December 7th in New York City. It'll be an old fashioned Texas-style throw down in the spirit of the mountains and we sincerely hope you'll join us to celebrate the virtues of human capital.

Minyanville is a humble community, one that only exists because folks like you choose to be a part of it. On this, the five-year online anniversary of Minyanville, take a moment to reflect on our journey and be proud of what we've created. If you didn't care, we wouldn't be. It's really that simple.

And it's really that special.

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