Bloglovin, a startup that has been compared to Tumblr and RSS, has just raised a $1 million Series A.
The company bills itself as a fun, simple way to follow all the fashion blogs that interest you. Like RSS, you can sign up to read updates from any blog (not just the ones on a single platform or content management system), and like Tumblr, there’s an emphasis on high-quality visuals and community. Bloglovin even held a fashion awards ceremony in New York earlier this year.
I first spoke to the Bloglovin team about a month ago, shortly after New York City-based incubator and early-stage investor betaworks had bought some secondary shares in the company from a seed investor. At the time, betaworks CEO John Borthwick sounded particularly excited about the startup’s numbers. It has about 1.5 million registered users, and more impressively, its ratio of daily active users to monthly active users is 50 percent. Put another way — people who use the site must love it, because they come back a lot. The average Bloglovin user also follows 37 blogs.
The Series A is betaworks’ first direct investment in the company. Other investors in the round include:
- Lerer Ventures
- RRE Ventures
- Hank P. Vigil & Fritz Lanman
- Eric Martineau-Fortin
- Rob Wiesenthal
- Jill Greenthal
Bloglovin CEO and co-founder Mattias Swenson says his next big target is mobile. He notes that even blogs with a tech-savvy readership rarely see more than 10 percent of their traffic come from mobile — compared to social sites like Facebook and Twitter, where mobile usage is more like 50 percent. Bloglovin has already released a smartphone app, but Swenson says, “We’re not really proud of it.” He’s planning to launch a new iPhone app at the end of July, with the aim of presenting one of the first blog reading experiences that looks really great on a smartphone. The company plans to release iPad and Android apps further down the road.
In addition to mobile, Swenson says he’s looking to add more social features. After all, he says his girlfriend, a fashion blogger, has hundreds of thousands of monthly readers, but “she doesn’t know any of them — they’re just numbers in Google Analytics.” That’s why Swenson wants to “bring the social fabric to the blogosphere.”
And if that’s not enough, the company also wants to release localized versions in key international markets like Japan. After all, when you’re featuring such visually-driven content, it can appeal to readers who aren’t native speakers of a given language.