Monday, February 25, 2013

RollUp Media, founded by former DoubleClick Int'l executive, gains funding, seeks publishing partners

Founded in 2011 by former president of DoubleClick International, Ben Regensburger, RollUp Media has secured €1.5 million in Series A funding from venture capital firms Arts Alliance and PROfounders, and has recently launched What To Expect UK through its partnership with the U.S. publisher Everyday Health.

I spoke last week with media start-up's CEO Ben Regensburger about the company and attempted to get a handle on what they do for publishers, advertisers and writers.

"I think we're very happy the terminology 'media company' because we're about the entire gamut of media. We're not just picking a piece of it. We're not just a sales house. We're not pure tech, either," Regensburger said.

"The idea really is to have a platform that connects publishers, advertisers and writers on something that increasingly is becoming the common glue, which is content," Regensburger said. "We're about content, we're about content driven ad experiences."

"What got me thinking about all this was back in 2010 when I left Google and I was doing some advising for some equity companies, and i was doing a little angel investing myself, I was starting to realize for myself that basically the entire explosion in social (media) was very much driven by a very specific type of content," Regensburger said. "It wasn't the content from the big, traditional publishing companies. It was sort of the more authentic, niche content."

"Then I started to talk to a bunch of those folks that were creating all this authentic content – indy publishers or bloggers, whatever – and when you start looking at their ability to make money off that you quickly realize there is sort of a similar discrepancy as there was in the early days of online."

The problem facing these publishers, Regensburger believes is the disconnect between content and where the advertising is going.

"All this media consumption is happening here, and all the media dollars are going somewhere else," Regensburger said.

One of its early projects to the help the U.S. publisher Everyday Health by launching U.K. and Australian websites for their brand What to Expect When You’re Expecting. RollUp Media has already launched the U.K. version of the site, managing everything from content to monetization. (Regensburger told me that RollUp Media has a dedicated ad sales team.)

Regensburger, who before joining DoubleClick worked at Procter & Gamble and the Prinz Kommunikations GmbH, and was Marketing Director at Hugo Boss AG, said the company is focusing on the Internet for now since their client base is best served with website solutions. Because of this, the emphasis is on mobile website design rather than apps.

"We focus very strongly. from the very beginning, on responsive design," Regensburger said. "As we open up into services and transactional type clients then apps should be something that is part of our mix."

I'm still somewhat confused as to what kind of company RollUp Media really is – it might be fair to call them a digital custom publishing company, or a full service publishing services company. Regensburger said they have become "a one-stop shop", and that is probably a fair description of the media start-up.

As for the new round of funding, RollUp Media will be using the support to build out its content production platform.

"This funding helps us accelerate development of our content production platform, particularly our native advertising solutions. We are in beta on this and excited about how this will change agencies’ ability to curate and distribute content," Regensburger said in the formal announcement.