Mark Mangan and Sascha Lewis | Co-Founders
With its collection of localized weekly e-newslettersâ€”which distill nightlife, culture and art for discerning quasi-hipsters in New York, Miami, London and other citiesâ€”Flavorpill, a New York-based Web company launched eight years ago, has built a loyal following of some 400,000 subscribers, more or less doubling each year, with estimated revenues of about $4 million in 2008.
All of which has led some people to call Flavorpill the â€śCondĂ© Nast of e-mail.â€ť And, like CondĂ© Nast, Flavorpill sets itself apart from its closest competitionâ€”which, ironically, is mainly from traditional print players like Time Out New York, the New York Times and the Village Voice in New Yorkâ€”with a laser-focus on quality. (Each e-newsletter is filled with local nightlife recommendationsâ€”what it calls â€śfiltered cultural stimuliâ€ťâ€”edited and re-edited, hashed and rehashedâ€”and must pass an internal â€śtasteâ€ť test.)
The e-mails have become so influential, theyâ€™ve been able to attract blue-chip advertisers like BMW, Bloomberg and Budweiser.
â€śIn many ways, what weâ€™re doing with the events we list is the same as what Time Out New York or the New Yorker and other publications are doing,â€ť co-founder Mark Mangan told the New York Times in 2006. â€śBut if you canâ€™t click to a map of where the event is, if you canâ€™t forward it to your friends, if you canâ€™t send it to your cellphone, is it really that useful?â€ť
Mangan and Lewis are co-survivors of the dot.com crash, having launched an e-commerce company called NetSetGoods that went belly up in 2000. The pair launched Flavorpill in September of that year.
Then, after a year into doing what was essentially a full-time hobby, Bloomberg called. "The CEO who took over for Mike came into our office and told us how much a fan he was," says Mangan. "He bought advertising on the spot. We thought, 'This could really work.'"
The company has expanded to curate eventsâ€”like a book party for Chris Andersonâ€™s Long Tail, a monthly party at the American Museum of Natural History (which Fader recently took over)â€”and other themed e-newsletters, including Artkrush (art), and Earplug (electronic music) and, most recently, the Daily Doseâ€”all infused with a similar, distilled sensibility that is uniquely Flavorpillâ€™s.
VITAL STATS: The companyâ€™s 10 e-mail newsletters have a combined 400,000 subscribers, attracting blue-chip advertisers