Percolate, a New York-based startup that helps brands sort and curate content on the social web, is taking on some investors in a $1.5 million seed round led by First Round Capital and a variety of angels including Kenneth Lerer, Sherry Redstone and Path co-founder Dave Morin.
The company, led by co-founders Noah Brier and James Gross, formerly of the Barbarian Group and Federated Media, respectively, sells software that helps brands such as GE, Mastercard, Amex and Grey Advertising find relevant content and then distribute it through social channels like Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. Until now the company has been self-funded; the additional money will be used to hire additional sales execs and developers.
Media companies are also experimenting with the technology to automate their own curation process, such as Reuter's Counterparties blog and American Express' OpenForum. The idea is to create a mix of content created by the staff or contributors and pulled in from other sources.
Now that brands have spent the last several years collecting fans and followers on social networks, they are under pressure to provide value in the form of useful content. Some content they'll create on their own though, but Mr. Brier believes aggregated content will be the bigger part of the mix. "Our mission at the company is to help brands create content at social scale," he said. "We think this is a really important thing for brands."
Percolate starts with a list of sources and then, through a set-up process, the algorithm is tweaked until it brings in the right content. The model is software-as-a-service; corporate clients pay $10,000 to $20,000 for the service, which includes a dashboard that allows an editor to quickly add comments to aggregated sources and then post to various social channels, websites, blogs or RSS. Grey is using the tool to disseminate content for internal use, like an automated clipping service.
"Brands need to push out 35 to 50 messages a day; five on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbr, their own domains, blogs and email," Mr. Brier said.
New funds will also be used to develop additional products, all with the goal of helping brands create content for the social web.