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Spotlight on Emerging Market Media, Digital.NYC’s Startup to Watch for April 2017

Each month as part of Digital.NYC’s Startup to Watch program we connect with the winning company to find out more about them. Here’s what we learned in a recent talk with the Dawn Kissi, Founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of Emerging Market Media.

Digital.NYC: Tell us about your company. What does Emerging Market Media do?

Emerging Market Media is just that--a new media and technology entity focused solely on the world’s emerging and frontier markets. We produce high-quality journalism, events, custom content and private projects focused on these markets. So what’s an emerging market? Essentially the developing world. Countries becoming investment-grade or investment grade but are not yet a powerhouse such as the US, UK and German economies. We’ve also got a niche technology aspect to the business and are developing new products with cognitive and artificial intelligence.

Digital.NYC: What is your background?

I am a career journalist and producer. I began my career in Network news in the best and number one market in the world, New York City. During and for a bit after graduate school, I worked as a reporter covering the business of retail and fashion at Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), the storied industry trade publication. It was here I developed a real interest in B2B publishing and editorial.

Digital.NYC: Why did you decide to start this company? What need does it fill?

After nearly a decade covering financial markets, and particularly during the financial crisis, I started to see a void and at the same time a huge interest in emerging economies. The US economy was unraveling and the story on the domestic front seemed to be the same, and along the same lines. Then I would turn to countries such as Brazil and Mexico that have massive populations, growing markets with more individuals coming online every day, yet the coverage was sparse, and crisis-specific. Here at home I was looking a lot at securities markets and soon turned my attention to the lesser-reported ones such as Brazil’s Bovespa and the Johanessburg Stock Exchange (JSE). It's a very niche area to do journalism in, but an exciting one.

Digital.NYC: Who is your target customer?

As of right now, all journalism and content is free on our flagship site, Emerging Market Views. We are producing at a higher and more technical level, covering sovereigns, currencies and foreign direct investment (FDI), for example. That said, we are geared towards the financial services sector and within this area the asset, fund and active portfolio managers. We’ve seen a lot of interest from academics, foreign affairs professionals and day-to-day market participants as well. The site has been live less than one year and the traction we’ve garnered among these demographics has very been good, and thankfully gets better every day.

Digital.NYC: How do you think your company is going to disrupt the market? What are the main differentiators between you and your competitors?

As a professional journalist who truly believes in our industry, I see a real need to continue to adapt and embrace modern and efficient technology. Journalism is a service and along with providing such a service, I am focused on “product”. We are working with best-in-class technology as part of IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program (GEP) and as we scale we intend to deliver best-in-class products to not only leverage our expertise, but to serve our industry. Financial news, and emerging markets in particular, is a very unique niche to be active in. We’ve embraced our editorial not only with ethics and integrity, but with a service and technology-driven mentality.

Digital.NYC: What else might our readers be interested to know about Emerging Market Media?

We are an incredibly diverse team. My co-Founder, Chris, is a British architect and designer, for example. Has never worked in editorial yet has a very sharp eye for certain things surrounding editorial, coupled with a very clean design aesthetic. He developed and today manages our brand identity.  Our core team, including myself is now seven very talented and driven individuals based between NYC and London. And between us speak six languages and hold passports to five countries!

Digital.NYC: Why did you chose New York City as your base for the company?

I am a first-generation American and a born and bred New Yorker. I know this city and I love this city. If there is anyplace in the US to launch a financial B2B and even B2C company, it is New York City. I have lived and worked around the world and can say with confidence that the support, energy and strong sense of community here in New York City can’t be touched. It was a natural step to take and one that I am very proud of.

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