HubDub's news 'game' secures it a $1.2m Series A funding

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News prediction site Hubdub has secured £810,000 ($1.2m) in Series A funding led by Pentech Ventures and Scottish Co-Investment Fund, along with a group of angel investors including Rikki Tahta, founder of Covestor.com, and Simon Murdoch, founder of Friendsabroad.com (recently sold to Babbel) and Tim Jackson, founder of QXL.com. The investment gives HubDub a runway of 18-24 months during which they expect to build up their partner base and be “at or near” profitability. The site now has a team of six and 6 part time category editors but isn’t planning on expanding.

The site itself claims 250,000 unique visitors trading around 100,000 predictions per month, however to base its future growth on its in-house portal – which spins its market around primarily US news – would be a mistake.

The real story behind HubDub is not its portal but it’s partner platform which turns any news site or blog into a prediction market. There is a big opportunity here. Based on industry standard figures, on a typical news site the average user will spend around 5 minutes on a site per month (about 10 page impressions). On Hubdub an active user will spend over 3 hours per month on site (equal to over 400 page impressions). Why? Because the content hase been turned into a game people want to win for kudos. HubDub says some users are spending several hours a day on the site – something you don’t get on your average news site.

The site now has partners including Reuters, The Independent and Huffington Post. As Marc Moens from Pentech says, it’s “engagement around their content” that counts when traditional online publishing models are feeling the downturn in the ad market. HubDub is also planning some premium products for later this year. In June it launched Pundit Watch – tracking predictions from pundits like TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington.

The timing is pretty good for this investment. There are no new competitors in the predictions market in the last 6 months (Athens-based Askmarkets is aimed at companies not the consumer market) and main competitor The Standard which launched in Feb last year is not growing and not partnering with media outlets – something which is reflected in its lacklustre growth. [UPDATE: Coincidentally Nostradamical launched its public beta today (CrunchBase entry here). Again, it concentrates on its portal, not content partners.]

Trendio hasn’t done much recently and , and Yahoo’s Tech Buzz Game closed. Meanwhile HubDub is tracking upwards:

Husband and wife team, Nigel and Lesley Eccles, came up with the Hubdub idea in August last year and founded the company in November 2007 with three friends, Tom Griffiths, Rob Jones and Chris Stafford. Hubdub is headquartered in Edinburgh, UK. Eccles was previously with Flutter.com (acquired by Betfair) and BETDAQ.

  • http://livz.org Steven Livingstone-Perez

    Who would have predicted this? :-)

    Good write up. Well done to all at HubDub!

  • http://journik.com bob wan kim

    @journik “3 HOURS A MONTH?!?!” is that right? If you can’t atleast cause people to keep the site live all day long 24/7 like digg.com why bother? Twitter is a 24/7 app running on tweetdeck too. Aim higher guys.

    • Ian

      I for one do keep the site live all day but I don’t sit watching my Hubdub dollars rise and fall one by one. I guess I spend on average 15 minutes a day reviewing my positions or creatig questions

  • http://askmarkets.com George Tziralis

    Congratz to Nigel and team!!

  • Jim Jones

    Personally I find this site idiotic. “Will Heath Legder win an Oscar?.” “What will be the #1 film the weekend of January 16th?”

    People are going to spend 3 hours a month making predictions on these pressing issues of the day? After the novelty wears off are people going to continue coming back to sites like these?

    They plan on becoming profitable on ad revenue alone?

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/14/nostradamical-opens-its-prediction-market-outlook-hazy/ Nostradamical Opens Its Prediction Market. Outlook Hazy.

    […] is getting a late start: it is up against some more established companies like HubDub (which just annouced a new founding round) and Predictify, both of which are already appearing on the websites of some […]

  • http://jp.techcrunch.com/archives/20090114nostradamical-opens-its-prediction-market-outlook-hazy/ Nostradamicalが予測市場を開始。お先は霧の中

    […] Nostradamicalのユーザーインターフェースは比較的わかりやすくよくできているし、コミュニティーに力を入れている点を評価するユーザーもいる。しかし私は、この分野で勝つのは、他のサイトと連携が可能なサービスだろうと考えている。予測市場は、単独のコミュティーというよりはアドオン的な機能だと思う(Nostradamicalはソーシャルネットワーク用のアプリケーションを提供することによって、リーチを広げようとしている)。さらにこのサイトはスタートが遅い。ライバルにはHubDub(新たな資金調達ラウンドを発表したところ)やPredictifyなどがあり、どちらもすでに主要コンテンツプロバイザーのウェブサイトに登場している。 […]

  • http://www.teentoday.co.uk Oliver

    3 hours a month is phenomenal for editorial-based websites that are no-doubt selling at premium CPM rates 100X what you’ll see on the social networks, certainly in the UK.

    The problem comes as the lines between editorial and community become more and more blurred and advertisers don’t feel they’re getting environment anymore (yes, people still pay for this!).

    @ Jim, does it matter if the novelty wears off, there’s plenty more users out there. You just move onto the next product when your current one stops offering value.

    However, as a core human need is to learn/be informed, users already have a compelling reason to visit the publisher’s site- this can just be perceived as a bonus/extra engagement for sites that only traditionally offer community in the form of commenting.

  • http://thestandard.com Eric Hill

    First off, I have huge respect for the HubDub team. We met and shared ideas last year, and I really admire what they’ve been able to accomplish.

    What we’ve found is that the more niche the content, the more likely you’ll be able to monetize it in meaningful ways. That should not come as a surprise to anyone. What HubDub is doing in excellent fashion is building a platform, which has business model opportunities beyond communities and traffic. VCs aren’t as interested in vast traffic that hits the lowest common denominator – unless it makes money, which is rare. The partnering HD is doing is smart, and opens up new opportunities to hit valuable verticals.

    I, for one, am rooting for Nigel and team big time. The more mainstream prediction markets become, the better for all of our businesses.

    On a side note, don’t depend too heavily on Compete.com for your data. Our December numbers actually beat November, and are all much higher than what Compete tracks across the board. January is currently on track to be one of our biggest months, which Compete will likely not get right, either.

  • http://www.emediaone.net/?p=28 eMediaOne » Blog Archive » Nostradamical Opens Its Prediction Market. Outlook Hazy.

    […] is getting a late start: it is up against some more established companies like HubDub (which just annouced a new founding round) and Predictify, both of which are already appearing on the websites of some […]

  • http://www.thescriptszone.com/nostradamical-opens-its-prediction-market-outlook-hazy/ The Scripts Zone » Nostradamical Opens Its Prediction Market. Outlook Hazy.

    […] is getting a late start: it is up against some more established companies like HubDub (which just annouced a new founding round) and Predictify, both of which are already appearing on the websites of some […]

  • http://www.ojointernet.com/noticias/hubdub-obtiene-12m/ HubDub obtiene 1,2M

    […] Independent y Huffington Post también hacen uso de los servicios de HubDub. Según parece, la compañía está planeando lanzar algunos productos premium para finales de año. Nigel y Lesley Eccles, marido y mujer, […]

  • http://www.hubdub.com Nigel Eccles

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Just a couple of clarifications. On average our active users average about 450 page impressions per month. Some are much higher as they come in every day to check and amend their portfolio (and off course some are a lot lower).

    Do people get bored of the game? We’ve found that once a user builds up a portfolio they stick around. News provides evergreen content so there is never any shortage of things to predict on.

    No we aren’t relying on advertising to make it to profitability and lastly, Eric is right about Compete, for us it is somewhat directly correct but it significantly undercounts.

  • http://articlesave.com/2009/01/15/293/nostradamical-opens-its-prediction-market-outlook-hazy/ ArticleSave :: Uncategorized :: Nostradamical Opens Its Prediction Market. Outlook Hazy.

    […] is getting a late start: it is up against some more established companies like HubDub (which just annouced a new founding round) and Predictify, both of which are already appearing on the websites of some […]

  • http://webtrendblog.com/nostradamical-opens-its-prediction-market-outlook-hazy Nostradamical Opens Its Prediction Market. Outlook Hazy. | Webtrendblog.com

    […] is getting a late start: it is up against some more established companies like HubDub (which just annouced a new founding round) and Predictify, both of which are already appearing on the websites of some […]

  • http://www.casinogateway.net Colin

    Im a student up in Scotland and i remember reading that HubDub was helped out initially by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise; a kind of Business Gateway for Students and recent graduates. They do good work.

  • http://oixjvew.com Janey Mcoy

    lol nice site, very well done. It’s looking like something I would make hahaha.

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    I totally agree with your perception on this topic. Not everyone realizes that this can improve our lifestyles immensely. But there will be a day when everyone opens their eyes and sees this.

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