NewsCred, a company that helps customers find and create content for their marketing campaigns, is announcing that it has raised $25 million in Series C funding.
The funding comes slightly less than a year after I wrote about the company’s last round of $15 million. One of the main reasons to keep raising, said co-founder and CEO Shafqat Islam, is that, “We’re up against some big players like Salesforce and Adobe, and we need investment and we need a big team.”
The company says that it already employs more than 120 people, but Islam said it’s his intention to more than double the size of the sales team. He added that a lot of the funding will also go toward marketing and positioning the company so that it stands out amidst all the different content marketing companies that are currently around.
NewsCred clients include Procter & Gamble, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sprint, Xerox, Visa, Bank of America, AIG, The Hearst Corporation, and Time Inc.
The company’s content licensing business, where publishers like The New York Times, Reuters, and Getty Images make their content available to brands, will “continue to be the foundation” of the NewsCred’s services, Islam said. At the same time, it launched a program called The NewsRoom last year — instead of licensing existing content, The NewsRoom is a network of freelancers who can create new content tailored to a brand’s specific needs.
One thing that came up repeatedly in my conversation with Islam is quality. He said The NewsRoom is able to attract top-notch writers because it pays high rates — $500 for a blog post and $1,000 for a researched article. (There’s always a subjective element to quality, but you can see some of the results in these company case studies.) He also touted NewsCred’s “end-to-end platform.”
“You know, a lot of people use the word ‘end-to-end’ without actually thinking about, What does that mean?” he said. In NewsCred’s case, that means offering the full “content marketing stack,” from planning to approvals to analytics.
The new round was led by InterWest Partners, with additional funding from existing investors including Mayfield Fund, FirstMark Capital and IA Ventures. InterWest’s Doug Pepper is joining the NewsCred board.
“Content in itself is not a [marketing] channel — we think content is a broad, horizontal, foundational block for every one of these channels,” Islam added. “What we’re trying to do is, How do we build a massive company by powering content very specifically for each channel?”