Social media curation platform Crowdynews extended its series A funding with 3.7 million euro, bringing the total round to 6.2 million euro. The additional money is provided by initial investor INKEF Capital, the Groningen-based startup announced on Tuesday.
“This extension is important for the company’s next phase,” says Jeroen Zanen, CEO of Crowdynews in a statement. “These steps help guide us into the next stage of growth, which includes unlocking the potential in key markets like the US and UK, and bringing our solution to new users and new verticals.”
The company announced a 2.5 million euro in Series A funding in early 2015. StartupJuncture spoke Allyson Barr of the Boston department of the fast-expanding company. “We want the whole world to know us”, she says.
Crowdynews offers news websites a software platform that gathers and filters relevant social media messages that are added real-time and alongside news stories. “The results are greater reader engagement, lower costs, and new ways to monetize audiences”, the company says.
Startup or scale-up?
Founded in 2010 by Edwin Kuipers and Jeroen Zanen, we can’t really call Crowdynews a startup anymore. But since more and more people stress on the importance of scale-ups as the true drivers of the economy and Crowdynews is scaling up fast, this company deserves the spotlight. Besides, it is from Groningen – for the Dutchies among us: far away from Amsterdam.
Customers of the Dutch company include the Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, El Pais, Sport.es, NBA, The Malaysian Insider and Dagblad van het Noorden. Markets in the US and UK have to be “cracked open” further this year – “arguably the most sophisticated and competitive for publishers in terms of reader engagement and advertising”, Robert Jan Galema of INKEF says.
The company’s revenue model is based on sales of the platform, advertisement and managing the platform. “We can also manage it for them, but the goal is for them to maintain it themselves. News sites want to bring the voice of the crowd”, Barr says.
In terms of growth the company only wants to disclose it now has about 150 customers and 1.5 billion page views per month. “We see growth”, Barr says. “We are now active in 31 countries, available in 25 languages and have 60 employees.”
Office in US
Crowdynews opened up office in Boston last year to try and set foot in the US. “The US is indeed a difficult market”, Barr says. “Possible clients here are fairly mature and tried, you have to speak with them to get your value proposition clear.”
Setting up show locally and hiring people that are familiar with the market is the strategy to conquer the market. “Market-investigation is very important, as we adapt our plans and propositions to the local culture.”
The famous ‘Dutch directness’ according to Barr is an attribute here. “We move fast, communication is key in that.” This also goes for working with an international team, based in London, Boston and Groningen. “We have digital meetings every two weeks, and try to get the whole team together at least once a year.”
Groningen remains an important base for the companies. Both founders studied in the Northern city. “There is a lot of AI-intelligence here”, Barr says. “As well as technically-skilled people.” For Crowdynews Groningen remains a hotspot, next to Boston.