Graspr gets investment to seed the Internet with how-to content

The web, they say, is a great place to learn. And surprisingly, past all the porn, gambling and air-headed social networking, that has turned out to be true. To meet the challenge of educating the masses, there are a wealth of sites offering education and how-to content. Graspr is just one of them.

For that reason, Graspr founder Theresa Phillips isn’t trying to sell her site as a destination for surfers, saying there are already too many sites trying to get unique content and build a portal. Instead, what’s needed is a site that can help producers spread their content across the Internet. “We’re focused on getting content in, packaging it up, and getting it back out,” she says.

Launched last year at DEMOfall, Graspr has now raised $2.5 million in an investment led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson to help advance Phillips’ vision. Producers, who can be anyone from a hobbyist to a professional trying to market their business, make videos that the company then places around the Internet.

That could mean YouTube, but it also means hundreds of thousands of smaller sites like blogs that might be willing to host content in exchange for the traffic it can bring. Working in 17 categories, but focusing on home and garden, food and drink, sports and recreation and craft and education, Graspr is reaching out to thousands of other sites, asking them to host content. “It’s the Adsense model, low-touch but with a big outreach to sites and verticals,” says Phillips.

Graspr also plays the role of adviser to the producers, offering advice on how to create the content and connect to their audience, as well as letting viewers annotate videos and leave suggestions that sometimes result in improved versions. The payoff comes from advertising within the videos and on Graspr.com itself — from which both publisher and producer of the content get a cut.

Phillips reports 80 percent of publishers that her company has reached out to responding and agreeing to host content. She says that the company picked up some 150 producers in the past month, and “thousands” of publishers. Over the summer, it will accelerate its efforts, as well as working on “connected learning” for education.

Along with DFJ, several angel investors participated in the round. Graspr is based in Mountain View, California.


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