Smart pivots can pay off handsomely. Earlier this week, Percolate, a fast-growing New York City-based startup that helps brands curate content, announced a sizable Series A led by GGV Capital, the same Silicon Valley VC firm that backed Buddy Media, which was acquired by Salesforcefor a eye-popping $698 million. Existing investors First Round Capital and Lerer Ventures also participated in Percolate’s latest round.
Roughly a year ago, Percolate shrewdly changed its focus from helping users find the most relevant top stories toward a (more profitable!) service that helps brands figure out the most compelling content to push out to their followers–a process that starts by helping them interest graph, something that comes more naturally to humans.
The Third Degree
Percolate, the New York-based curation engine that helps brands source relevant content for their social media presence, just raised $1.5 million. The seed round was led by First Round Capital. Lerer Ventures and SV Angel also invested, as well as Path founder Dave Morin and Rick Webb, who used to work with Percolate co-founder Noah Brier at the Barbarian Group.
Along with the added cash, which will be used to hire a sales team and engineers, Percolate moved its platform from alpha to beta and unveiled a new design with a focus on helping brands generate content for “the social web”–in other words their Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter profiles or other branded sites.
The last time we spoke to Mr. Brier, Percolate was being bootstrapped by its founders and had just announced that it would be powering Counterparties, the Reuters owned website, for its editors Felix Salmon and Ryan McCarthy. Since then, the company has helped find content Amex OPEN Forum’s Tumblr and taken on a similar role with sites from Mastercard and GE.
Yesterday, Betabeat friend and neighbor Kat Stoeffel told you about Counterparties.com, a new Reuters blog that, in short, teaches you “to read like Felix Salmon.” The site, which features the most relevant and talked about articles from Mr. Salmon’s Twitter and Google Reader, is powered by Percolate, a seven-person East Village startup co-founded by Noah Brier, former head of strategic planning at Barbarian Group, and Federated Media vet James Gross.
Betabeat talked to Mr. Brier about why Percolate hasn’t tapped the local froth in the venture market, whether the Barbarian offices are coming down with startup fever, and why no one looks at Twitter anymore.