The problem with raising a round of funding from a large A-list group of investors is that you can’t plan on it staying a secret for long.
Rebel Mouse, the three-month-old social aggregation startup has raised a large seed round worth $2.5 million from Oak Investment Partners, SoftBank, NEA, First Round Capital Partners, betaworks, Chris Dixon, John Batelle, Gary Vaynerchuk, Greg Coleman, Howard Lindzon, Lerer Ventures and Jonah Peretti.
The company’s founder, Paul Berry, probably would have preferred to keep the news under wraps, avoiding the Bill Nguyen pitfall of playing the press for 90s-style headlines. Funny enough, it wasn’t one of Rebel Mouse’s long list of investors that leaked the news to me, it was Berry himself — he let it slip today in a presentation at Howard Lindzon’s Stocktoberfest in Coronado.
I’m not surprised Berry was able to corral such a high profile list of supporters. He has the chops to actually get this social media aggregation thing right. As a behind-the-scenes member of the Huffington Post Mafia, Berry was basically responsible for holding the operation together when the company’s three strong-willed founders all demanded different product features. Rather than try to work out compromise after compromise, he created a multi-continent operation that simply built all the features, handing off the development to a team in the next time zone each night.
In her initial (admittedly breathless) review of the Rebel Mouse product, Sarah noted that I had called Berry “a CMS God.” I want to clarify that I’m not a mindless fangirl — I developed that opinion after interviewing around 25 people for a beast of a story I did on the trouble with back-end publishing systems. Nearly every person I spoke to directed me Berry’s way. In short, there is some major Huffington Post CMS envy among the CIO’s of Manhattan’s biggest media companies. Rightly so: the company’s publishing software played just as important a role in the company’s success as the contributions of HuffPo’s other key execs (as explained in Sarah’s recent mega-profile of the group).
Now Berry is tackling the messy social aggregation problem. Rebel Mouse launched three months ago as an aggregator of Tweets, Facebook updates and Instagram photos into a single, Pinterest-tile-like page. I didn’t catch Berry’s slide with total users but he did note Rebel Mouse receives one million monthly pageviews. The company is slowly rolling out paid functions like custom URLs ($3 a month for individuals and $3 a week for companies like PandoDaily), apps, and, cool custom pages CrunchScroll, an aggregator for the entire TechCrunch staff’s Tweets. There are following functionalities as well.
The idea is to kill off the rarely-updated professional blog, making one’s online homepage a more social, dynamic glimpse at a person’s social activity. Now he’s armed with a fresh round of capital to built it.
[Dixon and Lerer Ventures are investors in PandoDaily.]
[Image via Shutterstock]