Harvard-based news app BriefMe gets funding from Digitas, Metro Boston founders
Jan 6, 2015
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If you're a consumer of news on the Internet, you're probably aware that there's way too much out there for a human being to consume. BriefMe , a free news-ranking app created by a team based out of the Harvard Innovation Lab, wants to fix that problem. Using a proprietary algorithm, NewsBrief ranks the top headlines from 100 of the most-popular news sites on the web. The company has attracted about $400,000 in seed funding from a group of angel investors that include Michael Bronner , the founder of marketing agency Digitas, Upromise and health startup Unreal ; and Russel Pergament, founder of the TAB newspapers, am New York , Metro Boston and the failed BostonNow newspaper. Max Campion , an avid consumer of news, started working on the BriefMe app in May 2013 when he was just about to graduate from Harvard. Last January, he pulled a team together that included co-founder Hari Ganesan, a Yale graduate and the startup's chief technology officer. He said he found himself not only using various news apps like Zite and Flipboard , but also separate apps from CNN and The Boston Globe. But Campion found himself frustrated. "It's quite an antiquated system," he said. "The model is old school. "
While Campion said he doesn't "want to take anything away from an editor," he did see a need to showcase news headlines that people care about in real time. The algorithm factors in how many times a story has been liked, shared and commented on in Facebook and Twitter along with the trending nature of the topic mentioned in the article. The app's goal, Campion said, is to institute a ranking system into news that could ultimately become a serve as a leaderboard of news for people to check. The app, which is available in beta mode for a limited number of people today, will formally launch to the general public in about a month, Campion said. As far the startup's plan to make money, Campion said that the goal is first to get as many users as possible. Related links: