RSS readers, Instapaper, Pocket, Flipboard, etc., all provide ways for consumers to gather, collect, and share news. But each is aimed at the general user, and while definitely usable in a business setting, none are actually designed for enterprise deployment. That’s the itch NYC-based startup Delve wants to scratch with its new tool for collaborative enterprise news consumption, which provides curated streams for use within and across an organization and its various departments.
Delve starts with editor-curated news feeds from top content sources around the web, broken down for specific verticals. In the product demo I tested, for instance, one large company had both health and environmental sub-divisions, and each department had a curated feed with relevant content they could switch to. Access to these feeds can be controlled by an administrator, giving high-level execs and managers access to all, and providing department specific staff and team members with access to only the feeds relevant to their positions.
By default, content is ranked by Delve according to its relevance based on its evaluation of which will be most valuable to its clients. The process requires human editorial control which may be hard to scale, but which Delve CEO Sandeep Ayyappan said in an interview is crucial to building quality content that’s genuinely useful for enterprise customers.
“Instead of each [employee] curating news on their own, each reading their own five sources and whatever email newsletters they’re reading, they can read a list of highly relevant stories we’ve built up for them,” he said. “So you’ll see a list of stories from The Atlantic, the Guardian, the Post, etc. We’re building this database of content, we’re prioritizing it based on which newsletters they appear in, which thought leaders are tweeting it out [...] basically based on as many editorial signals as we can find about what stories are worth reading.”
The real value comes not from this, which is essentially a custom newsletter service, but from the ability to interact on these stories, with threaded discussions, recommendations and built-in email and Twitter sharing. You can also flag articles for certain groups, in addition to having them housed in department channels, and tweak source lists by promoting some as favorites. Eventually, Delve also hopes to build task creation, project management features and action items based on news stories right into the platform, though for now getting people on board with the existing client is the goal.
With a lightweight design that features some very smart UI cues, it should be able to attract a fair number of fans. It also has the added benefit of breaking up the tendency for employees to silo news and information sources, in order to keep what might be perceived as a competitive advantage away from their peers. And when mobile clients follow (which Ayyappan says they most certainly will), I wouldn’t be surprised to see C-levels and managers begin swapping Flipboard out for this, at least on devices dedicated to work purposes.
The biggest challenge for Delve might be getting users away from more general purpose tools like Yammer that can also spark discussion around shared news stories, but Ayyappan says that Delve’s curation is its biggest advantage over those types of tools, and he’s not intending to replace them, either. In fact, he says the company is planning to roll out integrations to make it easier for organizations to use both Delve and social enterprise tools like Yammer in concert with one another.
Pricing for Delve will be arranged based on the type of use-based structure that enterprise software customers are used to, Ayyappan says. The startup has so far raised $300,000 in seed funding and hopes to now use its product launch to attract more interest from potential investors.