As you might know the crowdfunding campaign I’ve started in December failed but I received a lots of views, new visitors and likes. Also some emails and questions. The editors of the Hungarian blog Startup Review approached me too and their interview with the title Infobase for International Students in Pécs came out a couple of days ago. Here is a summary of the questions and my answers in English:
“The guy behind Pécs City Guide (PCG) says that his idea was not a classic startup project. But we decided to interview him because his case could be interesting to the readers of Startup Review too. The project does focus on a small niche, with an interesting set of tools, and is on the edge of closing down. Inspite the fact that the content is great, the feedback is positive and the project is filling a gap.
Pécs is becoming a more and more popular destination for international students but there used to be no regular source of current information about town, new venues, leisure etc. available online in English. Journalist and editor Ervin Gűth saw the opportunity and started a crowdfunding campaign to get some help in kickstarting the project. The initial campaign failed but with the help of a publisher Pécs City Guide became a print magazine for two years. The reasons of the project’s closing can be of interest for startuppers too.
Where did the idea of Pécs City Guide come from?
I think I can say as a journalist and editor what’s happening in Pécs and in the fall of 2014 I saw that there are more and more international students but there is no reliable and regular source of events, news, new venues available online and in English. Like an online magazine. I tried to create a site that is independent from advertisers and started a crowdfunding campaign. It didn’t succeed but local MediaWorks editors approached me that we should make something together but not online. The first print magazine came out in February 2015. (Actually there used to be print magazines available in town Time Out Pécs in English until 2012 and the bilingual Enjoy Pécs.)
What difficulties did you have when starting and maintaining the project?
The target audience of PCG is quite small there are only 3000 international students in Pécs. It’s a very diverse audience too, mainly consisting of students speaking English as a second language. Targeting them on Facebook is quite easy now for me since I spent a lot of time tinkering with that but I think a traditional method, namely a print magazine is still a better idea.
That said IndieGogo is a great platform, the processes are easy to understand. The most important thing I learned is that you have to spend twice as much time with preparations as with the real campaign. I couldn’t efford this since I’m involved in other projects too. But if I would start a new campaign again this would be one of my priorities.
Do you work alone or in a team?
I wrote the articles, shot the photos and did the layout for the magazine. The publisher organized advertisement sales, printing and distribution. After issue four or five my ex-collegue László Nógrádi wrote an article each month.
What are your plans for Pécs City Guide?
The mag was on track meaning after two years of operation the processes used to be smooth, but I had to break up with the publisher. I don’t like to use big words – especially if I have to talk about myself – but when I saw the deal, that Mediaworks was sold to a company with strong ties to the government I knew I had to leave. Sure, this is a big financial cut for me, but finance problems are easier to solve than moral issues.
Anyway, I’ve started a new crowdfunding campaign with a similar concept like in 2014. Actually, I was quite confident it would fail again but I was like giving a last try is not a big deal. I guess I this form of financing doesn’t work in the case of PCG especially since the content used to be available free of charge.
I’m going to focus on my other projects. I’m the managing editor of Pécsi Borozó magazine since January 2016 and I have other project ideas too.
What was the feedback of Pécs City Guide?
I only received negative feedback very rarely – mainly about the distribution of the magazine. The impression I got from emails and messages is that people did like the magazine and its style.