Rivet Radio, the company that wants to make it efficient to produce and distribute audio news stories through connected devices, has raised $1.9 million since last summer and has been using that funding to expand to new distribution channels and devices, the company announced Wednesday.
That brings the company’s total funding to $3.6 million in convertible debt, and it says it next will seek $10 million in Series A funding. MacLeod said Rivet has raised funds from strategic investors A.H. Belo, which owns the Dallas Morning News, and The Associated Press; Chicago venture capital group IrishAngels; Chicago venture capitalist Steve Miller; Elmhurst-based Ringleader Ventures; and other friends and family.
CEO John MacLeod said Rivet uses “data formats and processes that allow us to take a fresh news story, and once it’s put into the cloud, it’s instantaneously available across all these devices.” He said the company envisions growth through adoption of its platform and delivery methods, including rigorous metadata tagging.
Since last summer, Rivet has expanded from iOS and Android to Amazon Fire products and in-car platforms in Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles. It also has partnered with Chicago-based teleconferencing platform InterCall to use its newscasts in place of music on hold. In March, the company rebranded from HearHere Radio.
It broadcasts content from media partners such as WBEZ and Crain’s Chicago Business. It has partnered with Accuweather to deliver local weather in markets across the U.S. and customizable weather in 30 global cities.
MacLeod, a former Navteq executive vice president, said his company’s model is similar to that of his former employer.
“If you look at the approach we had at Navteq, we didn’t create maps; we created map data,” MacLeod told Blue Sky on Tuesday. He said Rivet newscasts require proper application of data for ease of device-agnostic distribution. Producers of shows that appear on Rivet tag the data themselves, since they’re the ones who know the content best, MacLeod said. That makes the shows easily searchable.
MacLeod said the company has three potential revenue streams. Rivet collects licensing fees from partners such as InterCall. The company also earns revenue through ads that play on its free app. The company says it plans to offer in 2016 a subscription alternative similar to that of Pandora, which offers unlimited listening ad-free for a fee, MacLeod said.
In May, the startup won two Peter Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism from the Chicago Headline Club.
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For more information and to download Rivet Radio visitwww.rivetnewsradio.com.
Rivet Radio, Inc.
Featured by Apple as “The Best in Bite-Sized News” and a “Start Up To Watch” by Chicago Innovation & Built in Chicago in 2015, Rivet delivers customized, multiplatform audio news and feature stories worldwide. Rivet has grown fromiPhone, Android, Amazon and car apps into a platform powering the global Audio of Things for millions of listeners. It’s radio reimagined.