An Angel in New York: Laurel Touby

An Angel in New York: Laurel Touby



For Laurel Touby, all it took was a boa and a bistro.

In July 1997, Touby founded mediabistro.com, a database of media people. For 14 years, the database grew, with more than 2 million media professionals registering worldwide. Touby sold the website in June 2011 for $23 million to Jupitermedia (now WebMediaBrands).

Before she founded mediabistro, Touby worked as a contributing editor for Glamour magazine from July 1995 to July 1999. She wrote and edited the “Getting Ahead Guide” column. From Sept. 1990 to Nov. 1991, Touby wrote for the Corporate Strategies section of Businessweek.

Touby received a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from Smith College in 1985. After graduation, she went on to work for Young & Rubicam Advertising as a junior planner for the AT&T calling card account and later became senior media planner for the Breyer’s Ice Cream account.

In 2007, Touby received the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. She received EWIP’s Exceptional Woman in Publishing award in 2011.

Touby is a current investor in Appboy, Biltboard and Lowercase Ventures. She invests in 10 startups per year at $25,000 each.

Sector Focus:

B2B, SaaS


Mediabistro (founder), acquired for $23 million by Jupitermedia (Now WebMediaBrands)



Blog, Twitter and Websites:


Expertise Areas:

Buzz, Community Engagement, Developing Revenue Models, Go-to-Market Strategy, Guerrilla Marketing, Organic Growth, Product Marketing, Social Media Strategy

Memorable Quotes:

On starting new companies: “You really have to have an idea that you believe in … If you don’t believe in your idea more than anything in the world, if you don’t feel every day like you’re having the most fun you’ve ever had, no matter how hard the chores are, no matter how tedious they are, if you don’t feel that it’s fun, this isn’t for you. You can’t be an entrepreneur.”

On challenges of being a female CEO: “Being a female CEO has been challenging. It’s very subtle, though. The sexism is subtle. You can’t always catch people at it; that’s the funny thing. You can think you are, and you can hint at it, and they’re hinting at other things. But you’re never sure if it’s really what’s motivating them. I think that’s what’s so cruel about sexism, racism, any –isms. Everyone’s so PC today that they just kind of sublimate it, and it comes out in really weird ways.

On knowing when to sell a company: “It really became a numbers game. As soon as the company got to a certain level and it started to explode, that’s when you start to realize, you know, maybe this is worth a lot of money, and you should think about selling.”

On negotiating the sale: “Negotiating is a skill, like anything else. You should read up on it. There are books all about negotiating. But really, it’s all about being on the spot and feeling the other person and sensing them and going with the moment.”

About the author: Emily Haile

Emily recently graduated from Tennessee Tech University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in public relations and digital media. She was a writer and photographer for the school’s student-run magazine, Eagle Eye, and newspaper, The Oracle. She was also the copy editor for both. She is currently a copy editing intern for AlleyWatch.

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