The company started out as a tool for creating infographics, but over time it has moved to a marketplace model, connecting companies who want infographics with people who want to be paid to make them.
At the same time, Visually has moved away from an exclusive focus on infographics. It now describes itself as “the world’s marketplace for visual content,” and when I looked at the Staff Picks section of the website, I definitely saw a lot of infographics, but I also found interactive graphics and videos. Co-founder and CEO Stew Langille (previously director of marketing at Mint.com) suggested that the marketplace could expand into other types of content, too, like mobile apps.
“We want to be platform agnostic,” he said. So are there types of content that Visually won’t get involved with? “Essentially, we’re about content marketing and storytelling. A logo design isn’t really that interesting to us because there’s no real story.”
Brands that have used the Visually marketplace include AOL (which owns TechCrunch), Red Bull, Twitter, NBC, and P&G. The company says its projects can be completed in one-third the time and at less than half the cost — Langille argued that Visually is becoming increasingly competitive with creative agencies. And while he doesn’t claim it will eliminate those agencies entirely, he said the marketplace will play a growing role in companies’ content and campaigns.
“We are definitely eliminating the inefficiencies and taking some of [the agencies'] business, no question,” he said.
The new round was led by Crosslink Ventures, with additional investment from Correlation Ventures, SoftTechVC, 500 Startups, Giza Ventures, Quest Ventures, and Kapor Capital. Crosslink’s Eric Chin is joining the Visually board.
The $8.1 million total boils down to $6.1 million in new venture capital funding, because it also includes a $2 million convertible note that the company announced last year. (That’s on the top of the $2 million that Visually raised in seed funding.)
In addition to expanding to other types of content, Langille said he hopes to introduce more customization, more automation, and more tools for distributing the content once it’s created.