“Startups Need Someone to Believe in Them” Lori Anne Wardi
The harsh realities of startup life is a topic Tech Cocktail’s co-founder Frank Gruber discusses extensively in his new book Startup Mixology. This week, an audience full of entrepreneurs had the opportunity to hear from founder of .CO and Vice President of Neustar Lori Anne Wardi about her experience in the early days of .CO.
“There were a lot of hurdles. When we first started many people suggested that dot co, the entire domain extension, was merely a typo of dot com,” says Wardi. “People would also ask ‘why do we need another domain extension?”
Wardi explained that like any other startups just launching, there were many naysayers doubting their business and success.
“We had to shut everything out and make sure we stuck to our vision,” said Wardi.
.CO’s vision was to build a brand unlike any other extension.
“We wanted to create a brand around .CO. It was not about two letters to the right of the dot, it’s about building a community and helping people succeed in building their business. The relationship kicks off when you buy the domain,” she explained.
Wardi told Gruber that .CO started to evolve when they focused on celebrating the startups using their domain.
“It takes a while for a company to build a business. So we would find businesses who built on .co and reach out to them. Celebrating the startups using our extension helped people pay attention to us,” says Wardi.
.CO was acquired by Neustar earlier this year. Wardi and Gruber were joined by a panel of expert, including Jermaine Dupri (Global14), Matt Haggman (The Knight Foundation) and Hugh Mcleod (Gaping Void) at The Stage Miami for the Startup Mixology Miami book launch.