Peter Rojas is the co-founder of gdgt, a crowd sourced, bottom-up, social platform about consumer electronic gadgets. Rojas’ past includes being the founding editor of wildly successful technology sites Engadget, Gizmodo and Joystiq. He sold Engadget to AOL in 2005 and soon after started his 4th venture: gdgt (pronounced, “gadget“) with co-founder Ryan Block.
SFNewTech caught up with Peter at GDGT 2010 event here in San Francisco (on Nov. 12, 2010) to find out what he’s up to these days and his vision for gdgt.
GDGT Co-Founder Peter Rojas at the GDGT 2010 Event in San Francisco (Photo: Shiva Manjunath)
SFNewTech: What came first? gdgt, the website or gdgt, the event?
Rojas: We started with the site first and our first event was kind of like a launch event. It was very similar to this, but we just meant it to be a party to celebrate the launch of the site.
SFNewTech: When did you launch the site?
Rojas: We launched the site in July 2009. Our first event was in August 2009.
SFNewTech: Where was the launch held?
Rojas: At the DNA Lounge, with about 24 companies and a similar format to this event. Then we did another launch event in New York in October 2009 and decided that maybe we should keep doing these.
So we decided to do a handful, about 5 this year, probably 6 or 7 next year.
SFNewTech: Any plans for taking gdgt to the rest of the world?
Rojas: We’d really like to, but logistically it’s just more difficult outside the U.S. We’ve definitely thought about it. We’d love to do London, because we have lots of UK users, so that would make sense at some point. I don’t think it’ll happen in 2011, but it’s definitely possible in 2012.
SFNewTech: Are you positioning gdgt as a blog or as a website?
Rojas: We’re not in business as a blog. gdgt.com is a crowd sourced, bottom-up, social platform about consumer electronics gadgets, to share what you know, and either write reviews and ask or answer questions about your gadgets.
SFNewTech: Do people have to sign up see it?
Rojas: You have to register to contribute, not to just look at it.
SFNewTech: How many users do you have?
Rojas: We have a lot, but we’re not releasing the number yet. (editor’s note: according to the Wall Street Journal, as of April 2010 gdgt has hundreds of thousands of users, and 17,000 products in its database)
SFNewTech: Are you funded or looking for funding?
Rojas: We’ve raised two rounds of funding, totaling 3.6 million. Our biggest investors are True Venture, Spark Capital and Betaworks.
SFNewTech: Who founded the company?
Rojas: It’s myself and Ryan Block. My background is I was a founder of Gizmodo, Engadget and Joystiq, this is actually my 4th company. Sold Engadget to AOL, left AOL about 2 years ago to start gdgt. (editor’s note: Ryan was editor-in-chief of Engadget)
SFNewTech: How do you compare to say the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), or is it a totally different market or audience?
A; Our biggest difference is that our event is obviously much smaller and open to the public. The CES is for trade only, so members of the general public can’t go to CES. You need to be a member of a company or the press.
SFNewTech: Awesome, anything else you’d like to add?
Rojas: Check out the site, it’s the best place to ask a question about a gadget.
GDGT.com Co-Founders Ryan Block (left) and Peter Rojas. (Photo: (cc) Kenneth Yeung - www.snapfoc.us)