Today Toronto-based Pressly, a platform that lets media companies and content marketers create HTML5 mobile versions of their websites, announced today that it has secured a $1.5 million funding round led by iNovia Capital and OMERS Ventures. The company also launched out of beta today, having already signed partnerships with media companies like the Toronto Star and The Economist, in addition to creating branded content marketing solutions for companies like IBM and Toyota.
The startup’s cloud-hosted platform turns a publisher or blogger’s RSS feed into a branded HTML5 web app that readers can access from a tablet or smartphone browser, eliminating the need for a media company to develop its own branded smartphone apps. The company provides a number of industry-specific templates which can then be customized and branded with the imported content, and can be deployed by inserting a few lines of code into the original website. When users visit that website or RSS feed from a mobile device, users are redirected to the Pressly-powered mobile site for a more touch-friendly experience, letting users swipe between content and displaying articles in a much more mobile-friendly way.
According to the startup’s research, customers using its SaaS platform average up to 10 times more page views and 4.5 times longer visits on mobile sites powered by Pressly. CEO Jeff Brenner spoke with BetaKit about the latest round of funding, as well as the startup’s traction to date. “We started out with Pressly very focused on curated traditional publishers, we’re still working with those clients today but what we’ve seen is seen a lot of demand from the content marketing side,” said Brenner in an interview. “What we’re doing is giving businesses, both traditional publishers, brands, and B2B businesses, the ability to take the content they spent a ton of money investing in and make it go even further with engagement on smartphones and tablets.”
Pressly also allows customers to add in native advertising in whatever media or format they prefer, which means it provides a monetization channel for publishers looking to capitalize on mobile readers. With its focus on enterprise content marketers and larger publishers, the company offers a 30-day free trial to help them get started, and Brenner says publishers can get set up in less than 10 minutes. After the 30-day trial it charges anywhere from $199 per month to $499 per month depending on the number of pageviews.
Alternatives to Pressly’s solution include the likes of Readz, which BetaKit covered when it also launched its DIY tablet-optimized content solution that lets users create a mobile site by uploading a PDF, as well as similar solution OnSwipe, which offers its solution for free, and Polar Mobile’s MediaEverywhere platform, which is specifically targeted to large publishers. Brenner positioned Pressly as being somewhere in the middle of Polar Mobile and OnSwipe’s solutions. On the one hand, implementation is far less technical than PolarMobile’s platform while it differs from OnSwipe in that rather than targeting the long tail of individual bloggers, it focuses more on SMBs and enterprise content marketers.
Looking to provide a quick DIY solution for publishers and marketers looking to better leverage their content for mobile readers, Pressly plans to use the funding to grow its team while continuing to build out its platform. With tablet sales soaring and mobile browsing here to stay, demand for Pressly and other solutions will only continue to grow, however getting publishers to use a solution like Pressly versus building a mobile site in-house or outsourcing to an agency will likely be the startup’s biggest challenge.