Photo Credit: Carrie Kahn/NPR

Robin Pedraja, Founder of Vistar magazine, spoke at the luncheon hosted by Global Innovation Forum in 2017.

Mr. Pedraja launched the first issue of Vistar magazine – an advertising-supported digital publication-  in March 2014. It was a crazy idea because, at that time, it was not legal for an individual to start an independent magazine business together with the fact that the infrastructure to print the magazine did not exist.

Pedraja made the magazine to the public anyway, without the government’s consent. Vistar is seen by Cubans via thumb drives through the underground distribution system known as El Paquete de la Semana.

Beyond Cuban domestic market, Pedraja also eyed on opportunities to grow the business on the global basis. According to Vistar’s internal data, Miami is its principal market outside of Cuba, and the Vistar team is working on promoting the magazine to European countries as well.

To make the publication accessible to international readers, Pedraja knew an online presence for the magazine. “The same year I published the magazine, I published a webpage and purchased a domain through my friend in the U.S. so that you can download [the publication] in PDF,”  Pedraja shared, adding that he taught himself WordPress and how to build a full webpage using the tool as well as to host the content.