Mark Mangan and Sascha Lewis | Co-Founders
With its collection of localized weekly e-newslettersâwhich distill nightlife, culture and art for discerning quasi-hipsters in New York, Miami, London and other citiesâFlavorpill, 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 âCondĂ© Nast of e-mail.â And, like CondĂ© Nast, Flavorpill sets itself apart from its closest competitionâwhich, ironically, is mainly from traditional print players like Time Out New York, the New York Times and the Village Voice in New Yorkâwith a laser-focus on quality. (Each e-newsletter is filled with local nightlife recommendationsâwhat it calls âfiltered cultural stimuliââedited and re-edited, hashed and rehashedâand must pass an internal âtasteâ test.)
The e-mails have become so influential, theyâve been able to attract blue-chip advertisers like BMW, Bloomberg and Budweiser.
âIn many ways, what weâre 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 co-founder Mark Mangan told the New York Times in 2006. âBut if you canât click to a map of where the event is, if you canât forward it to your friends, if you canât send it to your cellphone, is it really that useful?â
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 eventsâlike a book party for Chris Andersonâs Long Tail, a monthly party at the American Museum of Natural History (which Fader recently took over)âand other themed e-newsletters, including Artkrush (art), and Earplug (electronic music) and, most recently, the Daily Doseâall infused with a similar, distilled sensibility that is uniquely Flavorpillâs.
VITAL STATS: The companyâs 10 e-mail newsletters have a combined 400,000 subscribers, attracting blue-chip advertisers