CheckThis, the latest platform competing for your already-strapped attention, has just raised $910,000 in seed money. Lerer Ventures led the round, with SV Angel, Index Ventures, Betaworks, Seedcamp and Hudson River Angels participating, as well as angel investors Taavet Hinrikus and the cofounders of GroupMe, Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci. Advisors include Instagram’s Tim Van Damme; Google’s François de Halleux; and The Next Web’s Robin Wauters.
Users landing at CheckThis’s homepage are asked, “What do you want to do?” with the options being Tell, Sell, Ask, or Invite. It’s a little Twitter, a little Tumblr, a little Craigslist, and a little Evite, all rolled into one interface. Fill in your information as prompted, do a little customization (background, text color), hit publish, and you’ve got a digital flyer you can share across your social networks. You don’t even need to register an account to create a page.
Founder Frédéric della Faille distills the platform’s core concept down to making announcements, explaining that it aims to fill the gap between a tweet and a blog. Not quite as ephemeral as the former and requiring far less of a commitment than the latter, it’s “Instagram for publishing.”
“You sometimes have something to share which doesn’t fit the social networks and, at the same time, you don’t want to open up a new blog simply to share quick content,” he told us.
The appeal, he believes, lies partly in those personalization options. People are therefore more enthusiastic about sharing their CheckThis-generated posters across social networks, he said. “It’s about white space that you personalize,” he said. “It seems really really simple and naive, but it’s working already.”Users have already created 36,000 pages, with an average 260 views per page. “When you see a company like Tumblr, the average views per post is like 0.0-something,” he said.
The company, which is currently based in Brussels, Belgium, will use the money to relocate to New York City and staff up accordingly. Though, according to Mr. Faille, CheckThis would prefer to crash with like-minded startups for as long as possible, rather than shelling out for dedicated space. “We are talking with other startups to see if we can share,” he said.
Surprisingly, even as Foursquare and Tumblr turn to monetization strategies involving ads, the current business plan revolves around users’ ability to sell on the platform. (Just two weeks ago Mr. Faille used CheckThis to unload an unwanted juice machine, for example). The site will manage the payment and take a cut. The site can also be used to organize paying events as well, Mr. Faille believes.
But that could chance. “That’s part of why we are moving to New York–our investors are really good at building [companies],” said Mr. Faille. “We know how to make money, but we want to be sure that it’s really going to work.”