Company: Help A Reporter Out
Contact: Peter Shankman, Founder
Location: New York, NY
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 3
It all began for the sake of good karma—helping out a friend, or a friend of a friend, because it seemed the nice thing to do.
Turns out those little favors were in huge demand, especially once people found out about them and eagerly spread the word. Peter Shankman, founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO), an email-based service that brings journalists and sources together, didn't hesitate to work that to his advantage.
Less than two years later, investing little more than his time, Shankman's service boasts close to 75,000 subscribers and nearly a million dollars in revenue.
Ask Peter Shankman, and he'll tell you that he's always been one to connect people. To begin with, he's a publicist who works to generate awareness for his clients. He also started a social-networking site (which has since been acquired) that joins business travelers with others visiting the same destination. And in between he's been considered "the go-to guy" when one of his reporter friends needs help finding a good source.
In 2007, one such source request came from a journalist who had heard that Shankman knew of soil experts in sub-Saharan Africa, for a story on Nigerian farming. Not quite.
Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via firstname.lastname@example.org.