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Why Xomba.com’s Nick Veneris Thinks Giving Away $500,000 Is A Great Idea

Seven years ago, Nick Veneris was faced with a question that daunts many new college graduates. “Do I follow my heart or go for job security?” Then twenty-something...

Seven years ago, Nick Veneris was faced with a question that daunts many new college graduates. “Do I follow my heart or go for job security?” Then twenty-something Veneris said, “I opted for the latter.”

Fast forward to 2011 and Nick’s big risk paid off. Learn how Nick Veneris, founder of Xomba.com – an online publishing platform and social network for writers – bootstrapped his way to success and why giving away $500,000 isn’t such a bad idea.

 

Company:                     Xomba

Founder, Age:             Nick Veneris, 32

Location:                       Jacksonville, Florida

Industry:                        Financial Services

Startup Year:               2006

Startup Costs:              $10,000

 

How I Got Started:

Upon graduating from the University of North Florida in 2004, I was faced with every new grad’s conundrum: Do I follow my heart or go for job security? I opted for the latter.

I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t quite ready – or well enough established – to gain a foothold in the dog-eat-dog writer’s market. I brainstormed, studied and brainstormed some more.

The solution I found: Offer young writers like myself an online publishing platform. Better yet, share the revenue the site makes with the users of the site; simple, elegant, effective and profitable.

With the help of a close friend – and silent partner – and a relatively small capital investment, I settled into my bedroom “office” and began building Xomba.com, a place where writers of any skill level can publish their work, benefit from the site’s high traffic of 8 million page views per month, meet and learn from other writers and make a few dollars in the process.

That was five years ago. Now Xomba employs five staff members and we gave nearly $500,000 to our users last year alone.

Best Success Story:

We launched a new innovative website this year without any outside funding. The site now incorporates a host of social networking features along with a new focus on the user.

In the coming months, we will be expanding our reach into what we are calling “channels”: topic-specific niche sites comprising a new Xomba publishing network. Think of the new Xomba as a social networking site for people who love to write. We’re ushering a new age of writing online.

Biggest Startup Challenge:

Our biggest challenge initially was the lack of engineering staff. Being a bootstrapped company, we couldn’t just go out and hire a team of programmers.

#1 Tip for New Entrepreneurs:

Take risks. I wish we would have taken more risks and I’ve applied that philosophy moving forward.

 

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