ScribbleLive, from Toronto-based Scribble Technologies, was once nearly synonymous with the term “live blogging,” but you’d be hard-pressed to find reference to that term on its site now. The company has matured and expanded considerably in the five years since its original founding, and with a new $8 million raise, it hopes to continue that maturation, to become the engine powering real-time content at media sites and other web-based properties in various industries.
Scribble’s round comes from Georgian Partners, and includes Export Development Canada (EDC), Summerhill Venture Partners and Rogers Venture Partners. It’s a very Canadian group, but Scribble’s traction is international; its ScribbleLive real-time content creation and distribution platform is available in 14 languages and used by the biggest media brands, including the Associated Press, Reuters, CNN and ESPN to name a few.
I spoke with Scribble CEO and co-founder Michael De Monte about the raise, and his vision for the company. He pointed out that Scribble recently launched ScribbleMarket, a way for brands to easily syndicate their live content, and to find said content from other sources for use on their own site. Licensing can be free or paid, and this lets news agencies quickly leverage their reporting resources for additional income streams, by providing not just static articles for syndication as has been the case, but full-featured, interactive real-time content that’s being dynamically updated from a single backend.
“The marketplace for us is the exciting component of what we’re building,” De Monte said. “This opportunity to share content in real time, becoming like the iTunes of real-time content has a lot of potential to change the face of media.”
De Monte points to the recent Boston Marathon bombings, which Scribble client Boston.com covered in real-time using its platform. Boston.com’s coverage was then picked up by between 40 and 50 other outlets via Scribble’s new syndication system, allowing smaller publications without nearly as many on-the-ground resources to take advantage of Boston.com’s reporting ability, which was particularly well-suited to the situation at hand.
In a time when more and more news agencies and publications are looking to cut costs and trim budgets, having the option of syndicating dynamic content offers a means to make the most out of dwindling resources. Newspapers are relying more on syndication to fill their pages these days, and it stands to reason that online properties will want more engaging ways to do the same on the web.
Scribble will be using this funding in part to push its ScribbleMarket syndication efforts, but also to help expand its platform, both internationally and among different kinds of customers. De Monte says that content marketing is a big target area where Scribble wants to do more, and the round can definitely help with those efforts.
“If you look at a news site today like TechCrunch, it changes every five to ten minutes,” he said. “If you look at a brand’s website today, it’s static in most cases. You could look at Samsung today and go to Samsung a week from now and it’ll look exactly the same, more or less. If they’re really trying to go down this path of becoming media companies and being responsible for their own stories and creating engagement, we believe our platform is the platform for that type of engagement.”
Scribble is also focused on offering insights pulled from engagement metrics on its content to brands, and De Monte says it offers much more than what a simple embedded Twitter widget can, in terms of pulling in rich content and actually telling a story. Content marketing is a hot space to be operating right now, so we’ll see if Scribble can convince brands it’s the missing piece to doing that in a way that truly engages customers.