Today Zemanta and I are announcing that I was named as chief executive officer. We're also announcing $2 million in new funding.
We have been hard at work over the past several months building the tools and products to create a better content marketing ecosystem, with new publisher partnerships, exciting new mobile solutions with Streams, and the launch of Circles.
Today, we are thrilled to announce a new round of funding of $2 million from our investors at Union Square Ventures and Social Starts LLC. This new capital will help us continue to invest in native ad and content-based technologies, expand our product suite and grow our team. To understand USV and Fred’s investment in Zemanta – I’ll share a quote from Fred:
In many ways I see [content marketing] as the future of online marketing. Instead of paying tens of millions of dollars a year (or more) creating banner ads and paying to run them on pages filled with someone else’s content, marketers can create their own web and mobile presences and use the most efficient form of advertising, pay per click advertising, to drive traffic to these pages and then engage in a conversation with their customers and potential customers.
Fred Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures, in his post Content Marketing Simplified
We are very bullish on content marketing at Zemanta. When it comes to the content marketing ecosystem, we believe that:
- Content ads will become the third major ad type alongside display and search ads.
- Readers will engage with consumer quality content ads and marketing as much as they engage with organic content.
- Publishers can use content to maximize Total Audience Value by helping readers discover new and existing content from themselves, their partners and sponsors.
- Content marketers will maximize the Total Potential Audience their content reaches by recommending their content to writers and readers.
We are also making some big changes on our leadership team – co-founder Bostjan Spetic will take on a new role as the company’s chief product officer. As he has done since he founded the company with Andraz Tori in 2007, Bostjan will continue to lead our product efforts, where he was instrumental in working with Andraz on the launch of Streams and Circles.
As for me, I will be moving into the role of chief executive officer. My duties will be similar to any startup CEO, but in particular I will be focused on growing the team, working with our investors, and evangelizing how Zemanta can help create a better content marketing ecosystem to brands and publishers (click to see recent talks I have given to those groups).
This is also a good time to give an update on what we’ve been up to so far in 2013:
Over the past year, the number of publishers using Zemanta’s content discovery tools has increased to more than 600,000. We have a strategic partnership with VentureBeat and are now powering trusted content discovery on the AP‘s owned and operated property bigstory.ap.org, with plans to expand the partnership on other sites and with additional Zemanta products.
Zemanta Streams: The Article is the New Home Page
In conjunction with our partnership with VentureBeat, we introduced Zemanta Streams. Streams is a new kind of experience that embraces mobile platforms, allowing publishers to provide readers with infinite content recommendations. The increasing tendency for readers to access content on mobile and navigate to individual content pages, skipping the homepage entirely, has opened up new opportunities for content across social networks and other aggregate sources. With Streams, we have created an environment for trusted content discovery that creates a constant stream of content that is contextual, relevant and natively assembled.
This August, we launched Circles, a product which allows publishers to manage a network of content – partners, contributors, or affiliates – through content recommendations. First we launched Tech Circles, a curated a network of content from experts and influencers. The Tech Circle includes some of the greatest content creators in the business like Fred Wilson, Hunter Walk and Andrew Chen. In October, we partnered with The Daily Meal to power content discovery across their network of food blogging contributors. Through Circles, any publisher can offer trusted recommendations and extend their potential audience reach across a broad network of partners and contributors.
Content is having its glory day. It has become so much more than just a destination online. Content ads have become an effective tool for marketers to engage consumers, publishers to build an audience and for readers to discover new contextual content. We have developed a suite of products that enables publishers to pair relevant, targeted content, both organic and promoted, that maximizes the value of an audience, and will continue on our trajectory of growth.
For the full press release on today’s news, click here.