London-based Echobox, an artificial intelligence service for online publishing, has raised $3.4 million in funding. The investors were Mangrove Capital Partners and LocalGlobe.
London, UK – 4th July 2016: Echobox, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) service for the online publishing industry, today announced $3.4m of financing from Europe’s leading early-stage venture firms Mangrove Capital Partners and LocalGlobe. The London-based startup, which helps online publishers optimise the distribution of content across digital platforms, will be using the funding to drive adoption of its AI service among major publishers and content creators worldwide.
Echobox’s team of world-class engineers and data scientists have developed a powerful yet user-friendly AI solution that publishers can use to rapidly ensure intelligent, authentic and optimal distribution of content and increase referral traffic from digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – the news stands of modern day. Developed in collaboration with world-leading publishers and academic institutions, its proprietary technology is proven to save publishers time while delivering meaningful increases in traffic. Echobox generates on average a 71% gain in referral traffic from Facebook and a 142% gain from Twitter.
The performance of Echobox’s technology has helped it secure deals with some of the world’s best known publishers – including Le Monde, Le Figaro, Axel Springer and San Jose Mercury News – with many more now running trials. Echobox has news publishers and other content creators – ultimately every business is a potential customer – in its sights, representing a market that will be worth $300bn globally by 2020 according to PQ Media.
“While some publishers have built successful business models around online publishing, the broader publishing industry has been in crisis and is struggling with the data-heavy world of social media – the new life blood of media distribution,” comments Echobox founder and CEO Antoine Amann. “Having worked at a well-known publisher, I was amazed by how they were investing vast resources in trying to perfect the science of content distribution in-house with data scientists and analytics tools to guide decision-making. Not only is it extremely expensive but it’s essentially an impossible task due to the vast and never-ending stream of real-time data.”
Echobox AI, which works with content in any language, features include the ability to accurately predict the virality of any given article and the ideal minute of the day to post a particular story, as well as the optimal way to spread posts throughout the day.
“Thanks to our extensive customer trials and deployments, we’ve processed vast amounts of data. This has improved the performance of our AI and given us a significant head start over the competition,” comments CTO Marc Fletcher, who studied at Cambridge University. “Interestingly, there’s a whole range of factors that affect social engagement – including content, audience, location and time of day. There’s no one size fits all so the algorithm is personalised for each user.”
“Social media optimisation has been major headache,” comments Anne Pican, Digital Publisher at Le Figaro. “Not only is it extremely complex but it’s a lot of guesswork, and requires a more scientific approach. Since using Echobox we’ve seen a major upswing in our traffic and saved valuable time. Our social media team is also now delivering more value to the business.”
Echobox now has the support of Europe’s most successful and esteemed early-stage investors. Mangrove Capital Partners, which led the financing round, was the first investor in Skype as well as website development platform Wix.com (NASDAQ:WIX). Saul and Robin Klein of LocalGlobe also joined the round, having helped build many of the UK’s best-known success stories including LoveFilm, Transferwise and Zoopla. The company’s advisors also include Zoubin Ghahramani, a world leader in the field of machine learning and Professor at the University of Cambridge.
“The is a fascinating time for AI and Echobox clearly illustrates this technology can impact society in a very positive way,” comments Zoubin Ghahramani, Professor at the University of Cambridge and technical advisor to Echobox. “It’s vital that quality journalism isn’t corrupted by a race for hits.”
“Quality journalism plays an important role in society. By taking the data science out of online publishing, Echobox will allow journalists to focus on what they do best while ensuring publishers can thrive,” comments Michael Jackson, partner at Mangrove Capital Partners. “Antoine and his team already have an impressive list of highly respected news organisations using the AI and the potential market is enormous.”
“Content distribution is a major pain point for publishers that is very costly and hard to solve,” comments Saul Klein, founding partner LocalGlobe. “The Echobox team has turned highly complex technology into an easy-to-use product that is delivering tangible value to online publishers.”
Echobox (https://www.echobox.com/) is the leading AI service for online publishing. Its user-friendly service takes the data science out of modern day media distribution, allowing publishers to rapidly ensure intelligent, authentic and optimal distribution of content across digital platforms. Developed by a world-class team of engineers and data scientists, in collaboration with world-leading publishers and academic institutions, Echobox’s proprietary technology is proven to save publishers time while delivering meaningful increases in traffic. Echobox was founded in 2013 and is based in London. Its customers include many of the best known publishers in Europe, North America and South America.
About Mangrove Capital Partners
Mangrove Capital Partners (www.mangrove.vc) is a leading early stage venture capital firm. Its team chases bold, transformational ideas around the world, with a combined focus on Europe, Israel, India and Russia. Mangrove works with top entrepreneurial talent at the earliest stages of innovation, with the aim of being the first institutional investor: the firm has co-created projects and regularly injects funds prior to product launch, often in unproven, unusual or unfavoured technologies. Its team brings rich and diverse experience in industry as well as technology, and its entrepreneur-centric approach ensures founders have the support, encouragement and experience they need to build disruptive, global companies.
With $750 million under management, Mangrove has the capacity to support its portfolio through multiple rounds of financing and is the largest shareholder in many of its best performing companies. Founded in 2000, Mangrove has invested in more than 70 companies, including Skype (sold to eBay), Wix.com (Nasdaq:Wix), Brands4Friends (sold to eBay), Nimbuzz (partially sold), Freedompop and KupiVIP. Mangrove has consistently featured among the top performing venture capital funds in the industry.
LocalGlobe (http://localglobe.vc/) has seeded impactful London founders since 1999 at places like Citymapper, Improbable, Lovefilm, Moo, Transferwise and Zoopla. Its partners include Robin Klein and Saul Klein (previously of Index Ventures).