Editor’s Note: This post is by our regular contributor Natasha Starkell, the CEO of GoalEurope, the outsourcing advisory firm and a publication about outsourcing, innovation and startups in Central and Eastern Europe. Twitter @NatashaStarkell. Gplus.to/natashastarkell.
Slovak startup Piano Media, which has challenged the online media industry with an aggregated paywall concept, has raised €2 million from 3TS, one of the leading private equity funds in Central and Eastern Europe.
Piano Media, launched in May 2011, enables online publications to offer their readers premium content on a subscription basis. In July 2011 it raised €300,000 from MONOGRAM Ventures, Etarget and NextBig.
In the two test markets, Slovakia and Slovenia, readers pay monthly subscription of €3.90 (Slovakia) and €4.89 Euros (Slovenia), which enables access to the premium content of all participating online media, a total of 60 websites and 20 publishers.
The publishers receive a share of the revenue based on the traffic generated, while Piano Media keeps a commission. In the first month of the launch in Slovenia, a Central European country with a population of only 2 million people, Piano generated €26,000 for the participating publishers.
The new round of funding will be used to fuel international expansion and improve software, according to Tomas Bella, the company’s founder and CEO.
One of the earlier high profile investments of 3TS in Central and Eastern Europe is Hungarian LogMeIn, a cloud-based, remote-connectivity and collaboration tool that went public on NASDAQ and generated over $100 million in 2009.