Skyword Bags $25M From Rho to Grow Content Marketing Business
Marketers are being forced to get more creative in their fight for consumers’ attention online, as people ignore advertisements or avoid many of them altogether with pop-up ad blockers. That has spurred an increased emphasis on marketing articles, videos, and other content aimed at attracting eyeballs.
Skyword is one of the companies trying to aid such marketing strategies with content marketing software and services. The Boston-based firm announced today it received a big boost, thanks to a $25 million “growth equity” investment from Rho Acceleration, a division of Rho Capital Partners. (Growth equity deals often involve venture capital funds, private equity firms, or other investors pouring money into relatively mature companies to accelerate their expansion.) Skyword’s earlier backers include Cox Media Group. Skyword also announced it established a $5 million line of working capital through Cambridge Trust.
Skyword’s software helps customers produce, manage, and promote marketing content, such as articles, videos, images, info graphics, and podcasts. Customers have access to Skyword’s global network of thousands of freelance writers and videographers. The company’s clients include Autotrader, GE Healthcare, Groupon, and HP, according to a press release.
“People are avoiding and blocking interrupt ads and marketing techniques in record numbers,” said Skyword CEO and founder Tom Gerace in a prepared statement. “But they’re consuming great content at unprecedented rates. To succeed, marketers must shift their fundamental marketing approach from ad-centric to story-centric. Our content marketing and personalization technologies were designed to support this new marketing approach from the ground up.”
Gerace formed Skyword in 2010. He previously founded Gather.com, a news and social-networking website, and Be Free, an online marketing services firm.
Skyword employs 160 people in Boston and Pittsburgh, and it plans to grow to 229 employees by the end of the year, a spokesman said in an e-mail.
Rho’s George Bitar, Doug McCormick and Mark Roehrenbeck will join Skyword’s board as a result of the investment.