Has Baltimore's Localist.com found a business model?
I've been watching Localist.com grow up in the tech wilds of Baltimore the last couple years, and something tells me the guys behind this Internet startup are finally on to something.
You may remember, if you've ever sought out event listings in Baltimore, that Localist was a social-networky, one-stop-shop website for events in the region.
But now, the company's Web technology is being made available to organizations to power their own event listings.
The latest big news for Localist: the new hyper-local news site in Washington, TBD.com, is using Localist's web platform to power its entire entertainment section. TBD.com is owned by Allbritton Communications, the same company that owns the successful Politico.com.
Selling its Web tech to other companies is a strategic change for Localist, which is based in Canton's Emerging Technologies Center.
Localist realized that to grow beyond the region into a national events listing site would have required more capital and scale. Good luck getting easy money in a recession.
So instead, what Localist inadvertently ended up finding is that its Web-based event listing technology was actually attractive to universities and other organizations (i.e. tourism boards) that needed to keep track of a lot of events.
Last year, "some schools and tourism boards approaching us and asked for white labeling [using the technology under their own brand name]," said Mykel Nahorniak, co-founder and president of Localist. "It was our a-ha moment."
Other clients include Johns Hopkins University, the College of Notre Dame, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the University of Maryland.
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