FORTUNE -- The summer of 2012 had a wave of exits hit the burgeoning social platform category. That summer, Buddy Media, Wildfire and Vitrue sold to Salesforce (CRM), Google (GOOG) and Oracle (ORCL), respectively, for hundreds of millions of dollars. Earlier that year, Adobe (ADBE) had purchased Efficient Frontier. The remaining platforms included Syncapse, which restructured itself and laid off a majority of its employees, Involver, which sold to Oracle for a smaller price tag, and Hearsay Social, which has focused on insurance and banking clients.
After the Buddy Media deal (worth $747 million with earn-outs), we learned that the numbers on this kind of business weren't as rosy as initially thought -- the company was burning a lot of money. Meanwhile Google announced last week it will shut down Wildfire.
The era of the social media management system (SMMS) appeared to be over.
The next phase for tech startups looking to capitalize on the billions of dollars Chief Marketing Officers are expected to spend on technology, is content marketing.
In recent months, startups focused on content marketing (and its spin-off, native advertising), have all raised large rounds of funding. Contently raised $9 million in January for its freelance marketplace for branded content. That same month, Sharethrough, a native ad platform focused mostly on videos, raised $17 million. The next day, NewsCred announced a $25 million round for its content marketing platform. Then Sharethrough and NewsCred formed a partnership.
Add one more to the list today: Percolate, a New York-based startup founded by former advertising executives, has raised $24 million in a Series B round of funding led by Sequoia Capital. Existing investors GGV Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures and ad holding company WPP participated. Percolate's total disclosed funding is now north of $34.5 million. (The size of WPP's initial investment in the company is undisclosed, but reports place it below $5 million.)
Founded in 2011 to help brands figure out what content to share on social media, Percolate has evolved to handle all aspects of a marketer's social media activity. Social media moves quickly, which makes things complicated for large, sophisticated brands. They must coordinate with large teams across a number of geographies to produce and share a lot of content very quickly, on many evolving platforms, in a way that's "on message," and "brand safe," that won't get them in legal troubles or cause outrage among customers. Brands are in a constant state of planning, sourcing, creating, publishing, engaging and measuring content.
"The fundamental challenge in social is not about customer service and dealing with fan pages," says Percolate co-founder James Gross. "It's about how to create content, and that's become only more true as social and mobile have merged."
Percolate's platform helps marketing professionals through each of those steps, with tools like a calendar for planning, a library for sourcing and licensing photos, an image editor, a longform writing editor, collaboration tools, a system of approvals, a way to get proper legal permission to republish user-generated photos, and analytics to measure the performance of a piece of content.
Along the way, Percolate has picked up 150 clients, including Unilever (UL), which licenses Percolate's software across almost all of its brands with tens of thousands of end-users, as well as Mastercard (MA), Ford (F) and Hyatt (H). The company has grown revenue by 300 percent over the last nine months and aims for the same level of growth this year, Gross says. Percolate has the majority of its $9 million Series A fundraise from November 2012 in the bank, he says.
This round of funding will help fuel the company's expansion into more mobile tools, like its employee advocate app, as well as geographic expansion. Percolate has 106 employees in New York, London, San Francisco and Austin, and it's hiring in Chicago.
As the company expands, Percolate increasingly competes against that first wave of social media management systems, which are now integrated into larger enterprise software of their parent companies. Percolate's differentiator, Gross says, is its content-first approach. "Our core belief is that content is the atomic unit, not the campaign or some sort of other element," he says. "All of our workflows are built around the content."
Percolate raises its large round of funding just as large brands are beginning to pour more money into content marketing tools. The timing is right for the company to grab market share, though Percolate's founders are happy to point out they've been planning for this all along. "We have always had the vision," CEO Noah Brier says. "We haven't pivoted into this vision. We plan to be the system of record for (content marketing)."
A new international career fair wants to level the playing field for tech workers abroad.
FORTUNE -- Compared with domestic candidates, international tech workers applying for jobs in Silicon Valley face a truly uphill battle. In the past, employers have had little incentive to hire an immigrant and invest thousands of dollars in legal paperwork and relocation fees.
But a new international career fair from Hired.com, an online marketplace for recruiting new MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 22, 2014 2:14 PM ET
The recently knighted Silicon Valley venture capitalist talks about investing, which companies are exciting now, and Sequoia's reputation.
FORTUNE -- Michael Moritz, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist, recently became Sir Michael, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his promotion of British economic interests and his philanthropy, including a large gift to his alma mater, Oxford University. Long ago a writer for Time magazine and author of what remains one of MOREAdam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large - Jun 24, 2013 11:05 AM ET
This AdMob vet wants to bridge the divide between desktop and mobile advertising. If she succeeds, even Google could find itself at a disadvantage.
FORTUNE -- Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan never planned to go into advertising, much less run a startup. But when the 37-year-old Stanford graduate, with a Ph.D. in Information Theory, met AdMob founder Omar Hamoui, she turned her back on Wall Street and joined AdMob as a research scientist in MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - May 21, 2013 7:58 AM ET
Also: Intel's CEO retiring in May; Cisco acquires Meraki.
Early builds of Apple's upcoming OS X10.9 include Siri and Maps integration [9 TO 5 MAC]
In addition to that, Apple plans to integrate its so-far criticized and controversial mapping service into OS X as a framework for developers, according to people familiar with early testing. Like on iOS devices, if the feature moves past early testing, developers will be able to embed a MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 19, 2012 12:11 PM ET
Facebook's newest advertising technique raises concerns; why so-called 'Silicon Valley wallflowers' are hot.
Myspace teases a completely rethought service, and believe it or not, it looks beautiful [THE NEXT WEB]
As you can see in the teaser below, discovered by Grace Dent and The Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw, Myspace is debuting a media-focused social network which emphasizes imagery, a static footer navigation bar with a built-in music player and a left-to-right timeline of posts.
Facebook raises fears with ad tracking MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Sep 25, 2012 6:30 AM ET
Fortune's curated selection of newsworthy tech stories from the weekend. Sign up to get the newsletter delivered to you every day.
* Late last night, Netflix (NFLX) announced via blog post that it is totally separating its DVD business from the streaming business and dubbing the former "Qwikster." Qwikster will be run by ex-Netflix exec Andy Rendich and will have separate user accounts, movie ratings and billing. Coming soon to the newly-christened service: Xbox 360, MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Sep 19, 2011 3:30 AM ET
Fortune's curated selection of the day's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web. Sign up to get the newsletter delivered to you every day.
* The Netflix-Starz partnership is no more, meaning all Starz content on the movie and TV-streaming service will be unavailable beginning next February. In a statement, Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings told Business Insider that domestic viewership of Starz content has declined to 8% given increasing content from MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Sep 2, 2011 3:30 AM ET
Signs of exuberance are everywhere: Tesla roadsters, soaring real estate, overpriced vinegar - and eye-popping valuations for pre-IPO companies like Facebook and Zynga. So why are so many Silicon Valley denizens reluctant to use the B-word?
By David A. Kaplan, contributor
FORTUNE -- Michael Dreyfus, 49, is a leading real estate broker in the heart of Silicon Valley. During the winter he sensed the housing market was coming back, though he hadn't MOREJul 11, 2011 5:00 AM ET
A curated selection of the day's newsworthy tech stories from all around the Web. Read on, and join the conversation with a comment below.
This week, the startup everyone's buzzing about is Color, a free mobile app aimed at creating a social experience that maximizes the smart phone's unique technology. Users share and store photos and videos in visual diaries -- besides being able to view their own media, they can also MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Mar 24, 2011 9:48 AM ET
|Delinquent IRS employees paid bonuses by the agency|
|Students cry foul over athletes unionizing|
|Is capitalism driving itself out of business?|
|Sandy Hook victim's grandfather launches smart gun campaign|
|Premarkets: Waiting for big tech earnings|