Quigley’s start-up helps companies discover tomorrow’s trending stories.
Paul Quigley LLM ’05, CEO and co-founder of NewsWhip Media, has a penchant for diving into cold water. “If we have any type of work retreat, he will jump into the freezing cold Irish Sea and not even think about it. He’s got that sort of adventurous spirit,” says Sanaea Daruwalla ’06, NewsWhip’s in-house counsel. It is perhaps that same appetite for adventure that led Quigley to abandon his successful litigation career to found NewsWhip Media, a Dublin-based news monitoring company that counts the Associated Press, the BBC, MasterCard, and Walmart among its clients.
Before founding NewsWhip, Quigley had worked in the litigation departments of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Quigley maintains that the skills he learned as both a law student and lawyer continue to serve him well in his role as a CEO and founder. “As an NYU Law student, I studied Trade Law with Joseph Weiler, which was one of those courses that’s so good it changes how you think about the world,” Quigley says. He also points to the legal research skills he gained as a litigator as being critical tools for making business decisions, particularly as the leader of a young company. “Once you’re a lawyer, it’s harder for the world to pull the wool over your eyes or for you to be intimidated by so-called ‘unknown unknowns,’” he says.
Quigley originally conceived of NewsWhip as a publication modeled after online outlets such as the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed but catering to markets in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Soon, however, his focus shifted away from content creation and towards content discovery. “Generally, reactions on social media are a good indicator that a story is an interesting story,” Quigley says. “So I wanted to build a platform to ingest all the content that’s appearing online each day and monitor each and every story for how much interaction it’s getting.”
Now, five years after its founding, NewsWhip has offices in Dublin and New York and serves more than 350 clients globally. “Companies use us to discover which stories and events are the ones their audiences are talking about today. Our technology can even predict which stories are going to become important in a few hours time to specific groups and audiences,” Quigley says. “One of our biggest partnerships is with the Associated Press, which wants to focus their energy on the stories that will be used by their members and customers. Even the more established media companies are really interested in using new technologies to improve what they’re doing.”
Looking forward, Quigley hopes to continue to expand NewsWhip, both by fine-tuning the company’s products and by continuing to grow the Dublin and New York offices. “Really the goal for the company is to make something that’s just a real pleasure to use and makes life easier for a lot of people. That’s the external mission,” Quigley says. “Internally, I want to do that by building a company that’s a really high-quality, good place to work, where we enable people to do the very best work of their careers and to have a good time doing it.”
According to Quigley’s colleagues at NewsWhip, that internal mission is one that he has already achieved. “He is a very strong, natural leader. He knows how to find the right people to join the team, and how to build a culture to help grow the business,” says Shane Naughton. A graduate of NYU Stern, Naughton was one of NewsWhip’s first investors and is now chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Daruwalla, who overlapped with Quigley at NYU Law, did not get to know him until nearly 10 years later. “I was moving to Dublin, and I reached out to the NYU Law Office of Career Services and asked if we had any connections there,” she says. “Paul was the first person on the list they gave me. I reached out to him, and he flew me out two days later, and offered me the job two days after that.”
Having worked with Quigley for a little over a year, Daruwalla observes that his management style is perfectly suited to achieve the kind of company culture he seeks to create. “He’s the ultimate people person,” she says. “He’s really thoughtful, and a good listener, and he cares a lot about each and every one of his employees. He goes out of his way to make sure everyone is happy, and that’s something that I think everybody sees in Paul as soon as they get to know him.”
Posted September 21, 2016