‘Tis the season to be giving, and this December, a number of local startups are already feeling the love.
Take. Today, the digital media company that wrote the equation for going viral announced the close of a substantial $25 million Series B led by Tribune Media Company. Tayori LLC, an investment vehicle driven by Ronin Capital CEO John Stafford II, also joined the round.
In addition to the announcement of their Series B, the startup — which operates mega-viral content machines like Dose and OMGFacts.com — also announced it has rebranded as Dose Media. Dose’s predictive tech scours the Internet for stories with high potential for virality, arming its content producers with the data they need to create highly shareable content.
Dose joins a host of other Chicago tech companies likeand to have closed a round this month. The former secured a $1.2 million round of bridge funding; the latter, a $25 million Series B of their own.
CEO Emerson Spartz, a digital web pioneer and virality expert ever since he founded Harry Potter fansite Mugglenet in 1999 at the age of 12, said Dose is hitting its stride hard and fast.
“Dose only launched in the beginning of 2014,” said Spartz, “but in the past year, our audience size has increased by 400 percent and our revenue has increased by 800 percent. It’s been a good year.”
Part of the funding deal grants Tribune Media access to proprietary technology that will bolster the media company’s story discovery and content publishing efforts across its 40-plus digital properties.
A hefty dose of capital will be invested in the tech platform and machinery algorithms that are key to engineering Dose's virality across its sites. The funding also engenders expansions into additional content verticals and the creation of a video studio, Spartz said.
Dose has grown it’s collective audience size from 12 million to 50 million in just a year. They’ve amassed 25 million followers on social media, and according to Spartz, they’re poised to grow that already sizable audience yet.
“We are expecting our audience to surpass 100 million monthly unique visitors in the next year.” Spartz said.
The funding announcement also acts as a teaser trailer for Dose’s upcoming venture into native advertising solutions. Spartz said marketers entertain too much time and anxiety by paying to promote content and “crossing their fingers” that it delivers. It’s a problem he said is solvable with 21st century technology.
“We are building a product that — without going into too much detail — involves a performance guarantee of virality, which will help solve that problem,” he said.
Further details about the product are under wraps, but Spartz did say a portion of the funding will be used to bring on a chief revenue officer and build up a sales team in preparation for its launch.
Photo via Dose.
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