It's been a year since Andraz and Bostjan jumped in the air, quickly composed themselvesÂ and proudly walked to the stage. At that point they haven't grasped the whole impact of the simple announcement Saul Klein just made when declared Zemanta one of the six winners of Seedcamp 2007.
I remember waiting for the news from London - they were at the most important turning point of their careers. Than, the SMS arrived:"YES!" It was one of the most anticipated messages in past years, at least for me. They did it! TwoÂ 25 year old kids managed to persuade top European VCs that they have and idea and potential to create something really big. Everything started to move really fast. Within a week me and Bostjan went to London and found a house for 6 geeks, started to work the London scene. Andraz and the team packed everything they needed for what it turned out to be a three month Hackathlon. After a week they all arrived and Zemanta started to become a true startup. Endless nights, events, dealing with lawyers, learning the ropes around VCs, bizdev, everything was new, yet so familiar and ... lightweight.
After a year
A year has passed since than and Zemanta has become a respectable force in the blogging world. We now support more than 10 platforms, numerous versions, serve suggestions from 2500 sources, professional images...everything you need to enhance your blogging experience.Â We touch several million readers each month and zemify 1000 posts each day. We invented the way how computer helps bloggers enhance blog posts, introduced quoting of the posts as a cross platform concept(Reblog), aggregation page of mostly suggested posts (Popular) and seen phenomenal response from the community.
Today, Andraz, Bostjan and I are sitting in London, trying to help the new generation as the intensive Seedcamp week is starting. In the next week, we'll be mentoring the teams and looking forward to see this year's winners and new ideas. We're proud to give back to Seedcamp.Â However, that's just small part of what looks is going to be two of the most intensive weeks in the history of Zemanta.
Union Square Ventures
The news of the day is that Union Square Ventures is joining Eden Ventures and The Accelerator Group as our seed investors. With these the three investors we have unparalleled portfolio of early stage investors. As we've learned in the past year, getting the money is great, but what really counts is the experience, support and network that a company gets from its investors. Zemanta has raised US 2.2 million from the three investors. It's a huge amount of money, but I could say that the real added value were the advice we got from our investors: Saul and Robin Klein (TAG), Peter Jones and Charles Grimsdale (Eden Ventures) and recently Fred Wilson. They've exposed us to the views we wouldn't have think of and introduced us to a top advisors that worked almost on daily basis with us: Scott Rafer, Eric Marcoullier and Marko Grobelnik. Without them, Zemanta would be just a team of young enthusiasts, with them Zemanta is a business!
The development partÂ of the team is working hard to finalize our next release: Zemanta is Getting Personal! With the release, we shifted our tool from being a general suggestion service to personalized service. You'll be able to upload your sources and limit the suggestion pool to your sources, you'll be able to search through your Flickr account and point Zemanta to your Twitter account to get related blogs from your friends. We've significantly redesigned UI and streamlined the blogging experience. Popular site now aggregates zemified posts and instantly gives you feedback what blogosphere is blogging about.
All this will be launched on Thursday and showed on BlogWorld, where our marketing team is heading this week. It's going to be our first appearance on such event and a major milestone for Zemanta. Visit us at our booth and let us know what you think. Lot's of toys and some fun twists waiting
What started as a small projects and was conceived at the coffee shop at the banks of Ljubljanica river, has become the most successful internet startup from Slovenia, the country on the sunny side of Alps. And it's only the beginning. I'm really proud of our team and everyone involved: both Andrazes, Bostjan, both Gaspers, Tomaz, Jure, Matej, Tadej, both Markos, Mojca, Nace, Jozko, Peter, Urban, Domen, Ziga and Matjaz. They are Zemanta!
For all startups out there here is our lesson from the most successful year of our lives: have fun and think big!