The new title aspires to combine the sagacious business sense of Fast Company with the trendiness of Vibe.
The 26-year-old Mr. Donovan's NV will compete with Earl G. Graves Publishing Co.'s Black Enterprise, a 30-year-old business publication that targets a slightly older, upscale African-American readership, as well as Business Week, Forbes and Fortune.
"There's a huge lack of professional business information specifically targeting the African-American minority community," said Mr. Donovan, noting that magazines aimed at the African-American community include multiple titles for haircare, lifestyle and music but only one on business.
"Business doesn't have any color other than green, but it's important that young minorities see themselves reflected in stories of other young minorities making it in corporate America," Mr. Donovan said.
As part of its market research, Envy -- made up of Mr. Donovan and partners Desiree White and John Oquendo -- consulted U.S. Census Bureau data showing that 15 million to 20 million African-Americans, out of 40 million, are educated at the college level or above. With NV, Mr. Donovan hopes to reach out to college-educated business people as well as entrepreneurs.
Mr. Donovan began his business career at the age of 17, when he started his own photography studio. Later, when he became an investor and began purchasing stock in companies, he said he realized there was a need for a publication covering career, finance and entrepreneurial topics specifically for twentysomething African-Americans.
"I think everybody needs a sense of belonging and a reflection of themselves," he said. "I want to inform, inspire and entertain this young, successful generation."
With an initial print run of 100,000 for the January/February issue and his own investment of $180,000, Mr. Donovan plans to publish five times in 1999 and every other month the following year.
While he says he has enough capital to print for the first year, he would consider linking with a larger publishing company later if the deal were right and he could maintain control.
Advertisers in the first issue are Deloitte & Touche, Toyota Motor Sales USA and Visa USA. Potential advertisers are being courted in the cosmetics, fashion and technology industries.
A color page ad is $6,800.
Earl "Butch" Graves Jr., president-CEO of Graves Publishing, which publishes Black Enterprise, doesn't seem to mind the competition.
"It's good overall for the African-American media business," said Mr. Graves. "Anything that broadens the market and exposes the general market to African-American culture and lifestyle is a positive."
However, Mr. Graves doesn't see an easy road ahead for NV. "Their biggest obstacle will not be trying to compete against other black media," said Mr. Graves. "It will be trying to convince advertising agencies and clients alike that there is a market for the audience" they're targeting.
`NV'S' BIGGEST CHALLENGE
LaTanya Junior, director-media services at Stedman Graham & Partners, New York, said Mr. Donovan's biggest challenge is getting the magazine in the hands of potential advertisers.
But the media executive with the agency that specializes in the African-American market also said there is room for NV. African-Americans are more likely to keep their cultural ties "even though they've become assimilated and are earning six figures," Ms. Junior said.
The optimistic Mr. Donovan is confident he can prevail. "I was raised without a mother and father in my life. Compared to that, publishing is easy. The message of NV is that if you want to accomplish anything, you can. Whatever you can