Laurel Touby (1963-)

Company: mediabistro.com
Started: 1994
Size: Sold to Jupitermedia (now WebMediaBrands) for $23 million in 2007

In 1994, Laurel Touby was a freelance writer seeking to end the isolation most writers experience by hosting monthly get-togethers for media professionals at New York restaurants. Two years later, she added an online component and launched mediabistro.com, a web site that grew to include job listings, career development courses, industry news and other resources. With venture capital financing and building her software “from the ground up,” Touby’s mediabistro quickly became the premier social networking site for people who work in the media business. The after-work cocktail parties Touby started – donning a colorful assortment of her trademark feather boas – continued, expanding to such cities as Boston, Washington and San Francisco. As of 2013, the site has an international base of more than 2 million members and an expanding library of resources, including several blogs. Jupitermedia acquired the company for $23 million in 2007, and Touby remained with the company until 2011.

“Don’t be afraid to ask what you may consider a dumb question. So many entrepreneurs stumble because they fear looking stupid. But they should have asked the dumb questions to avoid even dumber results.”

References:

  • Picture: Permission of Gary He.
  • Debra Michals Interview with Laurel Touby, 4 March 2013; http://www.creativity-portal.com/bc/nancy.mills/touby.html.