Startup Banjo has raised a new $16 million Series B round of funding, bringing its total raised to date to $21 million. The round was led by Balderton Capital, and included participation from BlueRun Ventures and Vegas Tech Fund, among others. For the Redwood City-based startup, the fresh injection of cash means ramping up growth, through talent recruitment, international expansion and building out its media platform product.
The startup has evolved from a mostly consumer-focused product that let you view the social media updates of people around you, to a cross-platform product that allows both consumers and media companies to experience and share real-time events and headline-making news as they unfold across the social web. The startup recently debuted its first web-based version, and also introduced Rewind, a product that allows users to re-live specific events in the past over again, and provides a historical look at what was going on in the world at any time you choose.
“Banjo is all about delivering live content that is indexed by location and context, however when people miss a news or major event, Rewind allows the user to relive the moment,” Banjo CEO and founder Damien Patton explained in an interview. “It’s the first location-based social graph, with a complete historical reference, drawing on posts that may have otherwise expired on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds.”
I asked why this is different from traditional news media, which is now seen by many as inferior to Twitter or the social web as a news source since it’s usually so far behind. By the time something makes the evening news, for instance, it’s already been tweeted about nearly to the point of audience saturation – Patton says that there’s a difference between experiencing something on the social web and reading or listening to a constructed retelling, however.
“With Rewind, you can go back and catch those moments through the eyes of the people who were actually there,” he said. “Even a breaking news event such as the Boston Marathon bombing or [yesterday's] building collapse in Harlem, New York, by the time it’s trending on Twitter or you’ve figured out the correct hashtag, it’s likely you already missed a significant amount of content.”
The company, which was founded in 2011, partners with media companies including NBC, FOX and BBC to provide them real-time looks at the public response to big news stories and major events like live sport as they happen, and also offers consumer-facing apps for mobile and now the web. Patton says both point of focus are important to the company, and feed one another.
“Both [enterprise and consumer products] are of equal importance as the media partnerships drive consumer growth, and in turn the consumer growth makes our product more attractive to media,” he said. The use of the funding will reflect that dual aim, as Banjo looks to be the bridge between events unfolding in real-time, the people on the ground, and those watching from a distance.