Promising to package and deliver news in fundamentally different ways than traditional print media, news reader apps quickly captured the imagination and dollars of venture capital investors — to the tune of more than $300M.
Now, many of those venture-backed news readers have either been acquired, shuttered, or both. With that in mind, we decided to visualize the rise and fall of venture-backed news reader apps.
Specifically, we looked at the wave of venture financing deals into the news reader space since January 2010 – and the subsequent rash of acquisitions or shutdowns that began in 2013.
This year alone saw a flurry of news reader app acquisitions or closures including Circa, Reverb, Zite, and Prismatic. Flipboard, the most well-capitalized of the bunch with a valuation of $800M in its 2013 fundraise, disclosed a new $50M round from JPMorgan in July. Flipboard has been the subject of acquisition rumors which have stalled and has also seen executive departures (as reported by Adam Satariano of Bloomberg).
On the flipside, Nuzzel which has been suggested by Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca as a good acquisition target for Twitter has seen recent momentum. It was highlighted by CB Insights last spring after analysis of Twitter highlighted the apps momentum.
Also of note in the space is Feedly which is self-funded and which is reported to have 12 million+ users (as of May 2013).
Update: Raju Narisetti, SVP of Strategy at News Corp kicked off an interesting conversation on Twitter about this research brief as below. Jonathan Abrams of Nuzzel, Bradford Cross of Prismatic and Shafqat Islam of NewsCred are among the entrepreneurs who weigh in as well as media analysts like Jeff Jarvis and Mathew Ingram.
— Raju Narisetti (@raju) December 19, 2015
(Click the graphic below to enlarge.)
Below is a roundup of notable venture-backed news readers since 2010 and their current status.
|Company||Status||Total Funding Raised||Select Investors|
|Flipboard, which aggregates news from media feeds and social media websites, was rumored to be in M&A talks in May. Flipboard raised $50M from JPMorgan this year but lost several key executives this year including CTO Eric Fend and head of product Eugene Wei.||$210.5M||Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs, Rizvi Traverse|
|Prismatic||Prismatic built a news reader app to discover relevant news based on user interests but shut down its consumer app in December and has since pivoted to B2B.||$16.2M||Accel Partners, Breyer Capital, Yuri Milner|
|Pocket ofers a “read-it-later” news aggregation app and raised a $7M Series C in March 2015.||$14.5M||Baseline Ventures, Foundation Capital, Google Ventures, NEA, Founder Collective|
|Reverb||After a couple pivots, Reverb offered a trending news app that ws acquired by News Distribution Network in June 2015.||$13.2M||Baseline Ventures, Roger McNamee, Floodgate|
|Pulse||Pulse offered a news reader app arranging news from different verticals. Pulse was acquired by LinkedIn in 2013 for $90M.||$10M||Greycroft Partners, NEA, Lerer Hippeau Ventures|
|Nuzzel||Nuzzel provides a social news reader app based on Twitter influencers and friends. It’s raised three separate $1.7M financings. Highlighted in May 2013 as a company with momentum based on mining of Twitter.||$5.1M||Lowercase Capital, DeNA, Digital Garage, CRV, Nikesh Arora, Marc Benioff, SoftTech VC, Homebrew|
|Paper.li||Paper.li offers an “online newspaper” app. The app last raised funding in September 2013.||$4.1M||Endeavour Vision, Highland Capital Partners, Softbank Capital, Debioinvestment, Kima Ventures, Polytech ventures|
|Zite||Zite raised $4M from angels for its interest-based news reader app before getting acquired by CNN. Flipboard acquired Zite from CNN in 2014 but shut down the app in November.||$4M||Undisclosed angels|
|Wavii||Wavii created a social news reader app but was quickly acquired by Google in 2013 for $30M.||$2M||Felicis Ventures, CrunchFund, Sv Angel, Battery Ventures, Madrona Venture Group|
|Circa||Circa offered a news reader app that broke stories down to essential facts or quotes. The app was shut down in June 2015 but Sinclair Broadcast Corp. acquired it in December 2015 with plans to resurrect the defunct app.||$1.7M||Advancit Capital, Menlo Talent Fund, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Quotidian Ventures, SK Ventures, Slow Ventures, Ludlow Ventures|
|Retickr||Retickr launched a social news reader app in 2012 but “sunsetted” the app in September of the same year.||$1.7M||Lamp Post Group|
|Summly||Launched by then 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio, Summly offered a news reader app built on summation technology. It was acquired by Yahoo for $30M in 2013.||$1.5M||Horizons Ventures, Marc Pincus, White Star Capital, Betaworks, Ashton Kutcher|
|Flud||Flud hoped to offer a hyper-relevant news reading experience but shut down just two years after its seed round.||$1M||Dan Gilbert, Detroit Venture Partners, Josh Linkner|
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