While the software is often used to commission content for
brand-owned properties, it's also getting traction among publishers
who need material for sponsored posts they've sold to advertisers.
Slate, the AP, Forbes, Gawker, the Atlantic and Mashable have used
Contently for that purpose. For example, Mashable editors worked
with Contently freelancers to produce BMW's Global Innovation
Series, which included this post on
the prototype for a flying car.
Clients put their projects into the system and set a price. (The
average assignment is worth $272, according to Contently's
co-founder Shane Snow.) The company also generates revenue from a
15% transaction fee it charges to journalists in the vein of a
talent agency, which was its business model out of the gate when it
launched in early 2011.
Contently last raised money --
$2 million -- two years ago. Since it introduced its software
subscription model, the business had started to chug along,
according to Mr. Snow, and there wasn't an urgent need to raise
more money. But the company saw a bigger opportunity emerging via
the ad industry's newfound enthusiasm for content marketing and
"[Contently] can become a software platform that will be the
plumbing for this industry that's now blowing up," he said.
They also saw other content-marketing companies -- such as
Percolate and NewsCred, both well-funded startups -- starting to
get more competitive with Contently's core business via their
original content offerings.
"Other people will be fighting for our lunch," Mr. Snow
Contently currently has 15 job openings and intends to increase
its headcount to 75 by the end of the year and bring in a head of
sales, a chief operating officer and a chief financial officer.
Two new investors -- Sigma Prime and Sigma West -- joined
existing investors Lightbank, Contour Ventures, ffVC and David
Lerner in contributing to the new funding round.