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Above: Image via William Brawley

Village Ventures, where Bryan Birsic was a senior associate, wound down its operations last week. But Birsic isn’t taking any time off. He is president of SimpleReach, a startup that helps publishers better engage their readers and has just raised $1.5 million led by Village Ventures and High Peaks Capital Partners to build out its business in a new direction.

If you click over to the SimpleReach site right now, its product looks a lot like fellow New York company Outbrain, in that it serves up a recommendation for readers at the bottom of an article with a sliding bar that comes in from the side. But Birsic says the funding is going into something completely new.

“It’s hard to let go of the slide because it was a success. It’s on hundreds of sites right now serving up millions of impressions. But we learned from that product and are going after a much bigger opportunity.”

The company is hiring data scientists and engineers with experience in the field of content discovery. “We don’t want to tip our hat just yet,” Birsic said. “It’s a really frothy space and we’ve got a unique approach.”

The co-founders of Village Ventures have headed off to Bain and Greycroft after finding that their investment thesis, “didn’t scale,”. SimpleReach is the final investment the firm made, although the fund does have follow on capital set aside. Mark Peter Davis from High Peaks Venture Partners also led the round.

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