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Startup Q&A with Rich Langdale – IT Martini

Rich Langdale

Rich Langdale, CEO, DOmedia

…Posted by Angela Gonzalez in IT Martini on Feb 2, 2011.

This IT Martini Media Correspondent can barely spell ‘€œentrepreneurship’€ while Rich Langdale lives and breathes the word.  So much, in fact, that he helped found the Center for Entrepreneurship at The Ohio State University.  Langdale’s newest business venture, DOmedia, is a 2010 TechColumbus Innovation Award semi-finalist for Outstanding Product.

DOmedia is a database of over 200,000 traditional, alternative and digital media properties.  From highway billboards to digital signage networks, DOmedia provides one centralized location for media planners to search for, assess and contact available media properties throughout the US.

IT Martini asked Langdale how he felt about DOmedia being nominated for a 2010 TechColumbus Innovation Award.

‘€œIt’s a great honor,’€ he replied.  He went on to say that the awards are a great program for Columbus.  The awards provide ‘€œwell-deserved recognition’€ for Columbus outside of its geographical boundaries. TechColumbus is providing a showcase for the exciting innovation occurring in Columbus.

Why DOmedia?  Why create a database of media properties?

Langdale answered that he has a strong background in marketing and logistics, so he cares a lot about this area. When looking at marketplaces for investment, Langdale looks for growth markets with great inefficiencies, high fragmentation and lack of transparency.

IT Martini asked what Langdale meant by ‘€œlack of transparency’€ and how that applied to the media properties market.  He responded that advertisers don’t buy as much as they’d like because they are simply ‘€œnot able to see all that is out there.’€   DOmedia was of interest because of the shift in marketing dollars to on-line and out-of-home advertising.  DOmedia is able to compile the opportunities and place that information directly in front media planners, who need to understand the many channels available when planning a multi-million dollar marketing campaign.

IT Martini wanted to know what advice Langdale has for those wanting to invest in or launch a start-up company.  Langdale emphasized that having a great idea in a great market is core, but not enough.  It is critical to ‘€œbuild out a vision, a mission, a strategy and a financial plan.’€  Get your ducks in a row, in other words. Langdale added that one of the key items of a strategic plan is getting key personnel in place.

How do you gather key personnel?

‘€œNetworking,’€ was the answer.  Networking venues for Langdale include NCT Ventures, Ohio State University, TechColumbus and our own IT Martini events.  Jeff Lamb, DOmedia’s Chief Technology Officer, for instance, is someone Langdale worked with previously.  Once Lamb was on board, Lamb was able to recruit and build the core technology team behind DOmedia.  Langdale emphasized that DOmedia had a ‘€œdramatic need for sophisticated database expertise.’€

Langdale had additional advice for those thinking of investing in or launching a start-up.  He stated that after getting the right team together and developing the financial plan, a business model is essential.  Entrepreneurs should ‘€œspend a lot of time thinking about how long it will take to get a customer.’€  How long it takes to acquire customers is how long it takes to recoup the dollars invested.   That means, on the flip side, planning in advance how long you can sustain the business prior to acquiring a strong customer base.

Langdale is a deep business thinker who develops clear goals and invests time crunching the numbers prior to investing in a start-up company.  It must be the correct formula, for Langdale has done this ‘€œa couple dozen times.’€  IT Martini hopes to enlist Langdale in 2011 IT Martini panel discussions and tech talks so that he can share his expertise with IT Pros and budding entrepreneurs.

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