10 Startups to Watch: Percolate

A Twitter and RSS-filtering Formula Serves up an Automatic Content Brew That's Customized to Consumer Needs

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Does the world really need another content-curation tool? Another blogging platform? Another content-discovery site? And all of this rolled into one product? Noah Brier and James Gross, co-founders of New York-based Percolate, are betting yes.

Noah Brier
Noah Brier

James Gross
James Gross

Mr. Brier, a former Barbarian Group exec, and Mr. Gross, a Federated Media veteran, launched Percolate this year with the goal of surfacing compelling content from users' online networks and then presenting that content back to the user to comment on. Percolate mines an individual's Twitter and RSS feeds (and soon, Tumblr) for repeated links and then uses an algorithm to surface content that is meant to both be timely and represent the user's individuality, among other things.

While building a consumer platform is the goal, Percolate is funding its development by licensing out its API as a content-curation engine to brands, agencies and media companies for $10,000 to $20,000 a month. The startup also helps brands decide which sources to mine.

Reuters launched Counterparties.com, a news-aggregation site powered by Percolate, earlier this month. And General Electric will begin to publish links to Percolate-surfaced stories on Healthymagination.com's blog in October. The goal is to complement the longer-form "stock" content already on the blog with a "flow" of quick-hitting related content from around the web.

"There's always going to be great content online," said Linda Boff, exec director-global digital marketing at GE, "but finding ways to be certain that the content being served is ultra relevant, is niche, is current. ... I just felt like they were onto something as soon as I heard about it."

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