Meet The Press(Sources)
Home to thousands of startups, Israel is internationally recognized as one of the most fertile environments for entrepreneurs, attracting thousands to cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beer Sheva. Among these aspiring businesspeople is a recent graduate of Yeshiva University. David Gedallovich, a native of Columbia and Oleh Chadash, has just launched Presssources, a company promising to radically improve the journalism industry and streamline a reporter’s writing process.
Via Whatsapp call, I had the opportunity of speaking with David and learned more about the history and goals of Presssources, its recent achievements, and its strategy for profitability. An individual with a remarkable background and persistent determination, David is not only building a successful startup but is instilling much pride within the YU community as well.
Recounting the impetus for Presssources, David tells me about his business partner, Rosella Tercatin, and how her frustrations with the journalism industry motivated her to create a more efficient way for writers and reporters to conduct their research and find sources.
Tercatin, an Italian citizen and acclaimed journalist, was asked to write an article comparing Italy to its neighboring European countries. “She’d travel to France, Germany, Belgium etc. to speak with local residents and learn more about their respective cultures” David says. “But Rosella quickly learned that finding interview-ready individuals from varying backgrounds, occupations, and political viewpoints would not be easy; it was challenging for her to connect with credible sources and the language barrier presented an even greater obstacle” he adds.
In an Ulpan classroom, Tercatin—now CEO of Presssources—relayed her experiences to David and told him of her plans to start a company that would help expedite the process by which journalists find credible sources. “We’ll build a database comprised of people from all sorts of backgrounds. If a reporter needs a quote from a teacher in Milan, a baker in Paris or a Merkel-voter in Germany, we’ll have one ready for them. To contact the sources, reporters will simply need to access our site and search for relevant identifiers, saving them countless hours” Tercatin tells him. David, moved by his friend’s professionalism, ambitious spirit, and talented skill set, was inspired by the idea and sensed its economic opportunity—he signed on as the company’s CFO.
Presssources has grown since that impromptu meeting in Tel Aviv. In September of 2017, Gedallovich and Tercatin were accepted into Gvahim’s “Hive”, an Israeli accelerator that assists international entrepreneurs by providing access to an expansive professional network, mentorship, free office space, and website design. This exclusive program enabled the Presssource team to collaborate and refine their business model with highly successful individuals in Google and other top companies.
Following a series of productive brainstorming sessions, Presssources formalized how they intend to recruit sources and build their database. “For the past few months, we’ve been working with journalism schools across Italy; Many students are eager to be listed as sources and it also allows us to build connections with future reporters. Eventually, we plan to employ an international ad agency to help us reach people across the globe and encourage them to register as sources” he says. Gedallovich will travel to Spain, South America, and the U.S. in the coming weeks and has set up meetings with journalism schools in those areas.
David—and the Presssource team—is confident that people will recognize the economic opportunity of being listed in its database. He explains “Imagine you’re a business owner in Manhattan and a Times article mentions you and your company, who wouldn’t want that sort of publicity?” To ensure that sources are who they purport to be—For example, a resident of a specific area or a member of a racial or socioeconomic group—Presssources will either contact an applicant directly or review their profiles on social media platforms. Juan David Alvarez, the company’s CTO, hopes to design a software to automatically verify a source’s identity.
The Israeli startup intends to provide journalists with services beyond its source database. The company has already retained a number writers and researchers who are available to help journalists with time-consuming projects like polls and data collection.
While the company has yet to charge its clients, its business model is conducive for significant revenue growth. Offering a low-fee monthly subscription plan, Pressources hopes to lure both ambitious journalists who might be eager to take advantage of an expedited reporting process as well as larger media corporations that could benefit from Presssources’ future network. In addition, the company will allow reporters to purchase relevant photographs and videos obtained by its affiliated sources.
Gedallovich has reason to be optimistic about the future of his company. While they’ve yet to officially launch their database, Presssources has already been quite successful in assisting journalists. Leveraging their connections in Italy, the startup introduced “Presto”, a service intended to help reporters cover the recent Italian election. “We’ve gotten calls from many newspapers and media outlets seeking translators, advice, and research services” David explains. The company intends to capitalize on their recent success by debuting their awaited database in the coming weeks.
Though he’s aware of the economic potential of the company, David believes that Presssources can also have an important and meaningful effect on society. For example, he attributes much of the media’s negative portrayal of Israel to a journalist’s inability to contact reliable sources. He argues “It takes a while to find and interview people who actually live in Ramallah or Jerusalem. If the writer is under a strict schedule, he’ll just recycle old and inaccurate information, prolonging a false narrative.”
Additionally, David hopes that NGOs and social justice agencies will choose to use the service as well. “Many countries don’t allow journalists to enter, but if we’re able to build a network of sources in these areas, it’s very possible that they’ll be able to provide information for writers hoping to expose a country's wrongdoings” he argues.
Gedallovich believes that investors and clients are less interested in a company’s idea as they are in the people running it. “If they see that you’re passionate, motivated, and hardworking, they’ll invest with you” he claims.
In David’s case, these traits will certainly contribute to Presssources’ success. Backpacking through Israel, David discovered a Yeshiva and was quickly captivated by Judaism’s depth and meaning. After spending a number of months engrossed in Torah learning, David decided to continue his religious studies at Yeshiva University. Starting in the James Striar School, YU’s elementary-level Judaic program, David worked diligently and eventually enrolled in the Mazer Yeshiva Program, the most intensive and demanding Talmudic studies curriculum.
Despite his double major in Finance and Marketing, David made time for a number of important extracurricular activities. As president of the International Student’s Committee, he ensured that foreign students like himself had a voice on campus. Additionally, seeking to establish bonds between the Jewish and Spanish communities of Washington heights, David became involved in Tech for Life, a club designed to teach local students about computers and the benefits of technology.
While he enjoyed his time in New York, his dream was to live in Israel. Following his graduation in 2014, David traveled to China for a business venture and later moved to Givat Shmuel, officially making Aliyah in 2017. Indescribably happy living in Israel, David considers it to be “one of the best decisions of his entire life.” He’s thankful for all of the assistance that YU provided him in regards to his Aliyah—and college in general—and urges all of its students to take advantage of the resources that the university provides.