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.
Much of Silicon Alley is still without power, and so New York’s startup workers remain scattered across the city. But time and the tide of the internet wait for no man, and so many are currently working remotely–from their apartments, friends’ couches, coworking spaces, accommodating coffee shops, even bar stools.
One of the companies affected is curation engine Percolate, based in Soho. In a charming show of solidarity, each of the displaced employees has taken a picture of his temporary workspace, and they’ve all been posted on Percolate’s Tumblr.
(By the way, if that baby is seeking employment, Betabeat might be willing to look at an adorable résumé. It’s never too soon to start planning our next Poachables!)
App for That
News.me, part of the Betaworks family of social web startups, just released a free iPhone app version of its news curation and discovery service and, due in part to the C train’s snail-like crawl from Brooklyn to Manhattan, we’re pretty psyched to test it out. The startup, which was born as a prototype in the New York Times Research and Development Lab, aims to solve the “too much stuff” problem when it comes to finding news you actually care about.
To pull the right articles from the social media deluge, News.me’s iPhone app analyzes the links shared by your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook to determine what’s relevant to you, using some metadata from Bit.ly (another Betaworks company) to help figure that out.
News.me already has a pared-down email product (of the top five links a day) and an iPad app that launched last April, albeit without the Facebook connection. But as general manager Jake Levine told us yesterday, the iPhone app is where things get social. The clean interface displays a nicely-formatted photo, headline, and, immediately below that, what your friends have said about the article, including their tweets and Facebook status updates as well as reactions on News.Me.
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.
The Third Degree
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.