Table of contents
- The Daily Aus
- Founders - Zara Seidler &Sam Koslowski
- Founded in Sydney, Australia
- Started in 2018
- 2 founders, 13 employees
Hey Zara. What’s your backstory
I’ve always been passionate about politics and the news. At university, I studied political science and then went on to work for Sky News for a Federal politician and then in lobbying. Those experiences were fundamental in shaping my ‘founder journey’ as they allowed me to interrogate politics from every angle. While I was working in those other jobs, Sam and I started The Daily Aus as a passion project.
There were absolutely no indications in my education or early career that I would be a founder - I can safely say it wasn’t something I ever wanted/thought about doing. I was really proud of the trajectory I was creating for my career, and I was never really attracted to the idea of working for myself. That all changed at the end of 2020, when we first had a conversation with a potential investor. Until then, I’d never thought about TDA as a business venture, but that first conversation (which, funnily enough, came through a school contact) opened a whole new world for me.
In February 2021, when we had completed our first capital raise, Sam and I finally took the plunge (on the same day!) and quit our full-time jobs to dive head-on into TDA. We had a sizeable audience on Instagram at that time, but absolutely no revenue/plan to create revenue, no podcast, no newsletter, no team and no managerial experience. I vividly remember our first day as full-timers - we met at a cafe in Bondi and just kind of stared at our computers for a few hours, completely unsure of how to run a business. Safe to say it all worked itself out, though!
What does your company do?
TDA creates accessible and engaging news for young Australians who want to read the news but don’t know where to start. We believed there was a serious gap in the market for serious, hard news written for and created by young people, so we set out to do it ourselves.
How did you come up with the idea?
Both Sam and I were always the people that friends asked about what was going on in the news cycle. We wanted to centralise that experience of just telling a mate the news and created an Instagram account to do exactly that. Five years later, nothing has changed - we are still a bunch of young people telling fellow young people about the important things going on in the world around them.
How did you go about building and launching the business?
We built TDA over four long years before we even considered the prospects of it becoming a viable business. The values that sit at the core of the product have never changed - accessible and digestible news - but of course the delivery has developed over the years. In its infancy, TDA was a few Instagram stories delivered every weekday morning (and always inclusive of good news). Sam and I would write and post these before and after our work days (at that point, we were both in very demanding jobs, so this would be at obscure hours).
The transition of TDA from a hobby to a business didn’t change our core offering - good journalism. What it did do was add a commercial arm that could build off the growing community our journalism was servicing.
As we have grown, we have created new offerings for our audience, including a daily newsletter, a daily podcast, a video offering, TikTok and recently, a polling service. Each of these products have been developed with our audience in mind, and the idea of meeting different readers in different places.
How have you grown the business?
Many of our early growth can be attributed to influencers sharing our content. We’re in a fascinating time where influencers have become brand ambassadors and cultural authorities on political and social issues.
We noticed many influencers were attracted to our content because it allowed them to weigh in on a topic without needing to take a side or publish an opinion - all we do is straight-down-the-line reporting, free of opinion.
What have been some of your biggest failures along the way?
Failures in journalism have significant ramifications, given the role that trust plays in the relationship with the reader. We’ve absolutely gotten things wrong here, but the biggest lesson we have learned is to be radically transparent with our audience when that happens. This idea of transparency informs all parts of the business, including our commercial relationships, but in a journalism sense, it means we own up to our mistakes and don’t try to hide them. Trust in media is especially low in the demographics we are trying to reach, so we believe in maintaining that trust above all else.
What digital tools do you use regularly?
Canva, Canva, Canva! It is critical that all of our team is trained to work in Canva, as it is the primary way we communicate our news with our audience.
Our newsletter goes out via Mailchimp, we communicate internally through Slack, and our podcast is recorded on Riverside.
What books have been a great inspiration to you as a founder?
CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest
Any podcast/websites that help you run your business?
Founders Journal, Morning Brew.
Any quotes you live by?
“Don’t be reckless in either direction”
- advice from one of our early investors
What do you do to look after your mental health while being a founder?
By sharing the highs and lows with my best friend and co-founder, Sam.
In a few words, sum up what it means to be the founder of a business.
Organised chaos. But also a privilege.
What are the biggest pieces of advice you’d give to other founders?
Find someone to come along for the journey. I couldn’t have done this without Sam.