The deal is significant because KnowNow has quietly been selling nicely priced software systems — both hosted and server systems — to companies that help those companies track transactions, news and other events via the RSS protocol. KnowNow has lacked its own blogging software, and this gives San Francisco’s Automattic, the company which owns WordPress, one more way to infiltrate companies — at a time when cross-town rival Six Apart‘s TypePad is among those with an early lead, and which recently got a boost from an alliance with Intel (more below).
RSS is the protocol, which can be used for sending electronic updates of just about anything, including things like sensitive banking transactions. It is also used to deliver blog posts to readers’ blog readers, whether it be BlogLines, Yahoo or some other company. KnowNow is in serious sales and marketing mode now that it has raised $13M in fresh capital from Kleiner Perkins and others. VentureBeat was surprised at that amount of capital, as RSS platforms should be relatively cheap to build. We talked with chief executive Todd Rulon-Miller, who comes across as confident but focused — he has been in the enterprise software game for years. He said that the systems being built for companies are managing many sensitive needs. Wells Fargo, for example, is among the companies that have bought at least one of KnowNow’s $75,000 sever licenses. He has ten large customers, and will be announcing more, he said.
We don’t know how well they are really doing, but with WordPress this becomes a serious combination — serious enough to match the Intel alliance (scroll down, and see here too), which pulls together Six Apart, Newsgator (for RSS reading), SimpleFeed (for RSS technology) and Socialtext (wikis).