NewsWhip Scores Angel Funding To Use Social Signals To Surface The News

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NewsWhip, a service that surfaces the latest news based on social signals from Facebook and Twitter, has raised an Angel round from Hal Philipp, founder and former CEO of Quantum Research Group (which was acquired by Atmel in 2008) and who is now a partner with Meridian Growth Capital, and Shane Naughton, a founder and former CTO of TaxStream (which was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2008).

Details of the investment remain undisclosed, although sources tell TechCrunch that it can be considered a seed round and is in the “under $1 million” range.

A sort of alternative to Google News (and also reminiscent of Tweetmeme), NewsWhip also saw a redesign this week as the company prepares to release native mobile/tablet apps that will also put it up against the likes of Flipboard. That said, the Dublin-based startup’s approach is different from most social news apps in that it’s taking social signals from the entire crowd — tweets and Likes — rather than a user’s specific social graph.

“We work off what everyone is sharing within a given topic (like Fashion, Business, Tech). Less echo chamber of your social graph, more wide open view of the world’s conversation”, explains co-founder Paul Quigley.

Alongside NewsWhip’s consumer-facing service, the startup has a professional product called Spike that will eventually be subscription-based and is currently being trialled with newsrooms.

“Spike is a dashboard for newsrooms, showing which stories are trending – or are about to trend – from thousands of sources”, says Quigley. It’s been developed with input from the BBC, MSNBC, Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post and others.

In addition to today’s Angel funding, NewsWhip is a graduate of the incubator-style NDRC Launchpad program from which the company has taken €35k.