Versa said Thursday that it has raised $2 million in seed funding. Omidyar Network led the round with participation from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Quotidian Ventures. According to Versa, the capital infusion will be used for growth and expansion. Based in New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia, Versa is a media technology company.
NEW YORK, Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Media technology company Versa (www.versaHQ.com) today launched the op-ed for the digital age. “Featured Perspectives” are sponsored quotes from thought leaders, advocates and experts, written in response to and published alongside hot-topic articles.
“Today’s 24/7 media cycle places almost impossible demands on publishers,” said Versa CEO and founder Keya Dannenbaum. “We designed Featured Perspectives to bring digital news sites a powerful new revenue stream, to help thought leaders and experts respond immediately alongside a developing story, and to give readers access to high-quality, clearly delineated, news and opinion, together in real-time.”
The new native advertisement: conversant with but clearly distinct from editorial content
Featured Perspectives are available across the Versa Media Network, which today includes over 15 premium news publications across the country including The Houston Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Real Clear Politics among others, representing 20 million unique visitors each month.
Versa’s simple model makes it easy for publications to integrate Featured Perspectives: publishers add a snippet of code to their site and retain a portion of the premium fee contributors pay to add article-adjacent responses to breaking stories.
“We use Featured Perspectives because it is brilliant and elegant in how it contributes to editorial content, generates revenue and engages readers,” said Andrea Mooney, Director of Digital Content and Executive Producer of Chron.com at the Houston Chronicle. “It allows us to monetize areas of our site that we hadn’t before in a way that suits the imperatives of the digital news world.”
The essential technology platform for any communications strategy
Versa uses proprietary technology to analyze thousands of articles a day and notify the organizations and individuals who sign on as contributors as soon as relevant articles appear within the Versa Media Network. Contributors can then quickly mobilize to respond with a Featured Perspective and maximize the exposure of their views.
“The Featured Perspectives platform gives our clients direct control over when and where their quotes appear in response to a developing news story,” said Trilogy Interactive Senior Strategist Brian O’Grady. “It’s innovative technology with outstanding results and a must-have addition to a traditional communications strategy.”
Featured Perspectives are purchased and written by a broad range of thought leaders, advocates and experts. Currently, an initial group of 15 are active on the platform, including education reform group PennCAN, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and political consulting firms Trilogy Interactive, Revolution Messaging and Campaign Workshop. Starting today, Versa will begin activating additional contributors onto the platform from a lengthy and rapidly-growing wait list.
Versa secures additional financing to fuel the growth of Featured Perspectives
Versa also announced today that Omidyar Network led the second closing in a $2 million seed financing. Omidyar Network, an impact investment fund created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, was joined by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Quotidian Ventures. The funding will support further growth and expansion of Versa’s offerings nationally to meet high demand from publications and contributors.
“Featured Perspectives helps digital media outlets monetize in a way that both satisfies their business needs and protects their editorial standards, while giving the public access to diverse and high-quality opinion from a single article page,” Stacy Donohue, director, investments, at Omidyar Network. “Our support of Versa reflects our commitment to innovative business models that are both for-profit and ultimately serve the public good.”
To join the Versa Media Network or become a contributor, contact hello@versaHQ.com. For more information, please see www.versaHQ.com and follow Versa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/versaHQ.
Versa designs interactive media experiences that engage and inform the public. Versa’s flagship offering is the Featured Perspective, the “op-ed for the digital age” that publishes sponsored expert opinions alongside breaking news stories in real time. Versa’s offerings are available across the nationwide Versa Media Network that includes publications like The Houston Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philly.com) and Real Clear Politics, representing 20 million unique visitors each month.
Versa is backed by Omidyar Network, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Digital News Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, Quotidian Ventures and Gabriel Investments. The company was founded in 2011 and is based in New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia. See www.versaHQ.com for more information.