NewsWhip CEO Paul Quigley reveals our new investors, and shares some of our future plans.
We have good news to share today: NewsWhip has taken investment from some fantastic backers, including The Associated Press, 500 Startups, Tribal.vc, Matter, Social Starts, the SaaS Syndicate and the UK Technology Syndicate.
The funding totals over $1.6 million dollars. We plan to use it to develop the next generation of NewsWhip’s platform, making it even better at tracking, predicting and understanding the sharing of news stories and other viral content. We’ll also use the funds to grow the company’s US-based business development team. Between our offices in Dublin and New York, we will add at least fifteen more jobs over the next nine months, doubling our team size.
Dollars aside, this fundraise has brought some smart, connected investors onto NewsWhip’s bench. Over the coming years, we hope NewsWhip will have a positive impact on the media industry, helping people better understand what stories and events matter each hour, and who they matter to. Writers will know their audiences better than ever. The quality of news stories, press communications, headlines, videos and every form of media will improve in response.
To get there, we will need advisors on everything from hiring to product to distribution. We’re proud to welcome aboard AP, Social Starts, Matter and our other new investors.
We want to give our community and customers some background on our new investors, and why they’ve come aboard.
The Associated Press
Based on its impact, size and scale of penetration, The Associated Press (AP) is the world’s most influential news organization. AP estimate that half the world’s population sees its content on any given day.
You often don’t know when you’ve seen an AP story – their content is licensed, blended into other reports, aggregated and re-purposed by tens of thousands of newspapers, broadcasters and online outlets, often without explicit credit. That political video on the evening news? That headline in your Facebook feed? That photo from that print article on a distant war? All arrived quietly, courtesy of AP.
As a 169 year old nonprofit, AP is not a frequent investor in startups, so we’re honoured to have the organisation on board with us. Jim Kennedy, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Enterprise Development told me why: “NewsWhip has become an important part of our social media tool set at AP, as it has for many of our customers. We are excited about our work together and NewsWhip’s potential for delivering the data and insights that can drive faster response to the news and better journalism.”
We’re thrilled AP understands NewsWhip and the signals we provide as a good force for journalism and reporting – and we look forward to helping the organisation drive that faster response and more engaging stories.
Tribal.vc is one of the top Irish seed investors, and the Tribal team has backed many of Ireland’s startup successes, including Jolt, Intercom and Boxever. We’re now proud that NewsWhip is among The Tribe.
Even before becoming investors, the Tribal team of Conor, Barry and Tadhg have been great advisors for us. They provide a fantastic working space in downtown Dublin (where we’re headquartered), and support local tech and startup initiatives, including the great new emerging tech publication, the Dublin Globe. One of the great strengths of Tribal is the team’s international connections, which led to introductions for NewsWhip to 500 Startups, the SaaS Syndicate and Matter, who are also now all investors in NewsWhip.
Social Starts is a seed and Series A stage fund based in New York and San Francisco. The team come from backgrounds in media technology and research and have a strong focus in our areas of interest. After some great initial conversations with Lead Partner Mike Edelhart and Founder Bill Lohse, we knew we wanted these guys in our corner. Their attitude to investing is a perfect intersection of philosophy, intelligence and, importantly, enjoying yourself.
If you work in media, you’ll undoubtedly already have encountered many of the technologies that Social Starts has backed. They include companies that do social publication optimization, social media monitoring, semantic web mapping, mobile news apps, games, fashion, commerce, and publishing.
Matter is a start-up accelerator and early stage VC firm that supports and invests in media entrepreneurs and companies. Its special focus is on companies that help make society more informed, connected, and empowered. Matter has a powerful set of media backers including The McClatchy Company, The Associated Press, and The Knight Foundation, and an amazing set of media contacts and friends.
NewsWhip is among the first investments that Matter is making outside of its SF-based accelerator program. Corey Fold explained: “When we decided to launch our seed investing initiative, it was a no brainer to start with Paul and the NewsWhip team. Their work is constantly on the tip of the tongue of leaders with work within the media industry and we’re excited about helping accelerate that progress.”
The good feelings are mutual. Andrew and I loved meeting the team and hanging out at Matter’s HQ in San Francisco. It’s a classic startup space – a former garage now full of startups, whiteboards, ideas and messages. We like that the Matter team who have some idealism and values mixed with their investment strategy, and that Matter’s mission aligns with our own plans.
If you’ve even dipped a toe into StartupLand, you’ll know of the legendary #500Startups, which is now well over #500Strong. Sith Lord Dave McClure is head honcho here, famous for his blog posts, ideas, pirate metrics, and straight talking. Through blog posts, events, speeches and investments, 500 Startups exports a scrappy, get-it-done attitude to startups all over the world. David’s Lieutenant (Sith Lady?) Bedy Yang, managing partner at 500 Startups, took charge of the NewsWhip investment in NewsWhip, and we’re thrilled to count her as an advisor.
The SaaS Syndicate & UK Technology by Flight VC
“For those who prefer recurring revenue” is the tagline of the SaaS Syndicate by Flight.vc, a syndicate on AngelList that invests selectively in high potential SaaS (Software as a Service) companies. NewsWhip has also attracted investment from UK Technology by Flight VC, with accredited investors from the UK coming aboard as investors.
AngelList Syndicates present an alternative source of capital for companies in our position – but one we like, in particular because we get an army of investors via a single investment vehicle. In this case we’ll have a sophisticated army – overseen by General Gil Penchina. We can call on them for hiring suggestions, introductions, and business development leads.
The SaaS Syndicate investors know the economics of our industry well. The UK Technology investors are closer to home and we believe will help us with hiring talent in the UK in Ireland, and will become business leads and advisors for us in Europe. We’re looking forward to getting to know them all.
New Angels & Inside Backers
NewsWhip also got backing from some great angels including Sam Perry, a former Reuters journalist and investor, Angus McMillian, a Scottish entrepreneur and investor, and Jim Mullins, a London-based investor and businessman.
Our existing investors participated in the round too. We’re really happy to get additional capital from the AIB Seed Capital Fund, who have been solid advisors and backers of NewsWhip since 2013. The Fund is administered by Dublin Business Innovation Centre, and their team has been active in setting NewsWhip on a path for success over the past two years with regular participation in business decisions from fund manager Eugene Smyth. Meridian Growth capital have also come aboard with follow on investment, led by Hal Philipp. Also participating is our Chairman Shane Naughton, and several other angel investors.
So What’s Coming Next?
NewsWhip has attracted a remarkable team, who have built a powerful, world class service from an attic on Dublin’s South William Street.
Our next challenge is to put this money to good use by building a technology that will be useful for years (or decades) to come, and a company we’ll continue to be proud of.
When we first launched NewsWhip’s Spike service, we had five customers, and a simple interface. It worked, to a point for spotting emerging stories in a few countries and filters.
Then the requests started coming in – for new features like monitoring other languages, Facebook posts, spotting influencers, spotting the most important content creators, Instagram tracking, Heads Up Displays…
We sift through these requests and speak with our customers each day, and work hard on the platform. As a result, Spike has become a super-powerful tool kit for analyzing what stories and events are emerging anywhere.
The new interface means users like the great team over at Spin 1038 can dive right into specific areas – like pre-viral Video, and find the next big online sensation before anyone else does. Here’s a video of the Spin team in action doing just that:
We’ve also found tremendous interest in deeper dives into our data set of hundreds of millions of articles, with social engagement scores. For that we developed Insights, a suite of tools and reports that show exactly who, what and how engagement is happening around any topic.
In the coming months, there’s much in store for Spike and Insights. We’ll be adding more intelligent trigger alerts, new viral metrics, custom outputs and exports, and jaw dropping demographic data. (Not exaggerating at all – my jaw dropped when I saw our Alpha version yesterday, and I may have drooled on our Head of Product.)
Sneak peek of that coming soon. Stay tuned by subscribing to the blog.
Whip It Good!