I wrote this post for the Union Square Ventures blog and it will go up there today, but in the meantime I'll post the news here.
Union Square Ventures has invested in a number of blogging related applications and services; Adaptive Blue, Delicious, Disqus, FeedBurner, Outside.in, Twitter, and Tumblr. We've been attracted to this sector for a number of reason; because an increasing amount of content is produced with these kinds of tools and services, because traditional media is increasingly adopting these tools and services themselves, and because our personal usage has given us a deep understanding of these tools and services.
Today we are announcing yet another investment in this sector, a small company in Slovenia and London called Zemanta. Zemanta is a service that's focused on helping the blogger/content creator make the process of creating their content simpler and easier. As you write, Zemanta processes all of your text (like a spell checker in a word processing program does) and suggests things to you. Currently, Zemanta suggests stories/posts/research you might want to read as you compose your post, images you might want to include in the post, words you might want to hyperlink out with, and tags for search engines and other services to use to discover your content.
A number of us at Union Square Ventures have been using the Zemanta service for several months and we universally like it and have found that we feel less equipped when we try to blog without it. I used the Zemanta service to add the related links at the end of this post and several of the links in it. Currently you can get the Zemanta service as a free plugin for the following applications and services; Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Live Writer, WordPress, Moveable Type, and Drupal.
Like many of the services we invest in, Zemanta's initial value proposition is significant and has allowed them to reach a critical mass of bloggers. But the potential for Zemanta goes way beyond recommending links, images, and tags. If you think about it, Zemanta is "adwords for content creators". And we are eager to see them open up this contextual recommendation engine to other web apps and services that content creators might like to add into their posts at the time of creation. The obvious things would be monetization services (affiliate links, text ads, and even graphical ads), widgets and badges, video, quotes, and music. But honestly the potential for this sort of thing is quite significant and we certainly cannot know for sure where it will ultimately lead.
We were invited to join existing UK investors Eden Ventures and The Accelerator Group (TAG) as seed investors in Zemanta. Zemanta was the winner of last year's seedcamp program in London, which is kicking off again this week in London. We are very pleased to be joining a couple of top notch early stage investors in London in this deal and we are equally excited to add a seedcamp company to our portfolio.
This is our second investment in Europe and it is possibly the first investment in a Slovenian tech company by a US venture capital investor. So we are making a bit of history here and that's exciting too. The founders of Zemanta, Boštjan Špetič and Andraž Tori, are leading members of the Slovenian tech community and have built an amazing team of developers. Our investment will fund the development of a US-based business development team and we are looking for candidates in the bay area and metro NY to join the company. If you are interested, please let us know in the comments or via email.