For brands needing to generate some well-designed content quickly and for multiple platforms, there’s now another tool.
This week, Woodland Hills, California-based Readz launched its online publishing platform and announced it has raised $7.15 million over three rounds since its founding in 2011.
To illustrate the new platform’s niche, CEO and founder Bart De Pelsmaeker pointed to an unnamed customer company that had an online magazine of about 50 pages, each uniquely designed.
He told me it usually took this customer about ten months to create and publish a new edition online with their regular content management system, compared to about 2.5 months with Readz, including revision cycles. It’s this kind of publishing chops, the company says, that has led Deloitte, IBM, Hilton Grand Vacations, and Microsoft to become early customers.
The new platform is optimized for smartphones and tablets, but also supports desktops. Using drag-and-drop tools, Readz generates HTML5-based responsive sites, landing pages, Web magazines, and white papers that can be immediately visualized in the platform for each of the three main display sizes. No coding is required.
Publishers can use built-in templates, including ones that resemble the vertical magazine-like layout of The New York Times’ seminal “Snowfall,” or they can point-and-click their way to their own templates. There’s built-in social media sharing as well as touch-and-swipe navigation for mobile. The company claims its early customers are seeing at least an eightfold improvement in readership and conversions.
Since responsive, HTML5-based sites have become commonplace, there are a variety of tool choices. De Pelsmaeker sees his company’s positioning in the middle between large platforms like Adobe’s Experience Manager and do-it-yourselfers like Wix.
A tool like the Drupal-based Acquia is similarly in the middle, he acknowledged, but it is a more complex piece of software. “Our value prop,” he told me, “is that we’re small and nimble” and can complement existing CMS’s.
The targeted user, he said, is the brand — large or small — that wants to quickly build a well-designed, interactive microsite for multiple device types. The pricing is intended to support that positioning — it begins at $300/month for four users, with bump-ups for additional levels of page views.
Readz leases server space from Verizon and IBM to create a worldwide content delivery network (CDN) of its own, to assist fast deployment.
The company raised $5.15 million in seed money around the time of its founding in 2011, plus it rounded up another $2 million last year from Belgium-based Parana Management Corp.