Notey, an online platform to find and discover the best blogs on over 500,000 topics, recently announced their seed round funding closed at US $1.6 million. The funding comes from angel investors including Ryan Holmes, CEO and Founder of Hootsuite as well as Steve Kirsch (Founder of Infoseek and OneID), Hugo Barra (VP Xiaomi International and Ex Google VP of Android), and Bitfinex (the largest USD/BTC Bitcoin exchange). And how did Notey manage to pull off such an impressive round? “Hustling. A lot of hustling,” said Kevin Lepsoe, CEO and co-founder.
The team currently consists of nine people, including Lepsoe and his wife and co-founder, Catherine Tan. The husband-wife duo come from a background in investment banking and believe these skills have allowed them to work the 20 hour days to get Notey off the ground and running. Notey’s office is currently located in Hong Kong but has people working remote in areas like Lepsoe’s native Vancouver and San Francisco.
So, how did Notey come about? “One day, Catherine and I were searching for travel blogs through Google and found the results uninspiring. We spent more time searching for blogs than we did reading them.” Realizing that there were millions of others out there with the same problem, Lepsoe and Tan decided to create a window to the Blogosphere. And that’s how Notey was born.
The design is simple and elegant. Exploring the site is much like perusing through the pages of well laid-out magazine. And the breadth of the site is really what makes it so amazing. The Notey team (and a helpful algorithm) have combed through 30 million blogs to bring you the best of the best. Search a range of topics from weddings to cars or refine your search with something specific like scuba diving in Palawan, and the best curated content from top bloggers will be there.
The visual experience and product aside, Notey has recently rolled out some great features like their daily or weekly email subscription on hundreds of thousands of topics – great for social media managers and content marketers. Users can get updates on kale, gadgets, sneakers and more. Notey offers trending topics on the homepage, the option to save blogs in an album or notebook for later, and easy sharing to social channels.
On today’s ever-increasingly crowded internet, blogs can largely go underutilized and unnoticed. Lepsoe and Tan are using Notey as a platform to bring the blogosphere to the forefront. “The value of the blogosphere is that it brings an untainted view of the real enthusiast on a breadth of topics that’s missing from big media sites and corporate blogs- Notey provides the human touch.”
So what makes a blog “notey”? “We’re looking for bloggers based on things like great content, frequency, and social media following for validation. We’re adding content daily on over half a million topics. One of our friends said we’re 80% technology and 20% vogue. We really liked that. When we’ve become too corporate we’ll know we’re doing it wrong.”
When asked how Ryan Holmes thought Notey stood out from the competition, he said, “While companies like Flipboard focus on social and instantaneous content, I see huge value in putting evergreen and underutilized content in front of interested audiences. Hootsuite will definitely look at utilizing this from a marketing perspective.”
So while the company isn’t currently focused on monetization, this is in the plans for the future. “Right now, it’s all about user experience,” said Lepsoe, “but we see a lot of opportunity with partnerships and brands down the line. We’ve been focusing on our web experience and will be turning our attention soon to mobile. An iPhone version of the app is available with Android coming soon.”