Parse.ly has raised $6.8 million and reached profitability. Here's what it's doing with the money.
Heads-up, Chartbeat, one of your competitors is growing — and it's growing fast.
Parse.ly, an analytics platform used by several different news organizations, raised $6.8 million in Series B funding shortly after achieving profitability, according to a Wednesday press release. Sachin Kamdar, co-founder and CEO of Parse.ly, told Poynter the recent cash infusion was a result of several successful months for the company.
"For Parse.ly, coming out of 2016, we had an incredibly strong year with two quarters that were our best quarters ever," he said. "We really started to think about how we could aggressively grow into the space."
Grotech Ventures and Blumberg Capital, Parse.ly's existing investors, led the latest round of funding, with additional support from the Felton Group, FundersClub, DreamIt and several unnamed others.
Parse.ly was founded in September 2009 and launched that December. A year later, the startup received $1.8 million in Series A funding. The analytics platform is similar to Chartbeat — which SimilarTech estimates is used by 100,000 more websites than Parse.ly — but provides some more in-depth insights into how users interact, such as "breakouts of on-page attention."
"We don’t want to just create a platform that's accessible and not provide the in-depth insights that really can be meaningful," Kamdar said. "I think we walk that line really well, and that's what set us apart in the space for a long time."
So now that Parse.ly is profitable, what does it plan to do with the money? Kamdar said the company will focus on three things: hiring more employees, creating a financial buffer from a potential economic recession and investing in product development and new endeavors.
"We all realized that our product gets used by every single one of our customers on a daily basis to really understand their content and their audience," he said. "We want to be sure we can be here for the long haul."
While the latest round of funding gives Parse.ly a lot more bandwidth to invest in analytics technology, the money won't change the company's overall strategy — which Kamdar said is heavily focused on serving the media industry.
"We turned down opportunities to raise much more money than this. We had offers from $25 to $40 million," he said. "The reason we turned them down is we don't want to be forced to have a strategy shift. We want to be here supporting this industry."
The news organizations that use Parse.ly's analytics platform include The Wall Street Journal, Time, Inc., Bloomberg, Condé Nast and Hearst. Kamdar said the company's reinvigorated support of the media comes amid two observations about the future of analytics: publishers are getting more sophisticated about their content, audience and revenue streams, while other businesses are increasingly interested in monitoring their customers online.
"We were getting more deals with brands that were not really your traditional publisher," he said. "I think we’ve seen in this space a really open-arms strategy to think bout getting revenue from all different angles."
Brands like Hello Fresh and Ben & Jerry's approached Parse.ly to express interest in learning more about their audiences, Kamdar said. One of the company's goals is to bridge the gap between the media and those newer clients — as well as to give power back to news organizations, whose digital advertising efforts have been overpowered by the Google-Facebook duopoly.
"This round of financing is really to double down on this industry. We feel very confident about this industry," Kamdar said. "A lot of power has been taken from the industry by Google and Facebook. We think we can give that power back through data."