Backstitch Flips Switch on Service Aiming to Cut Through Web’s Noise

Backstitch, the Detroit-based software startup that automatically curates content and organizes the noise of the Internet according to users’ preferences, went live last week with expanded tools and services, the culmination of about a year’s work teasing out what its customers truly want, the company said.

Co-founder Jordan Warzecha said that Backstitch still offers a free, consumer-facing version of its website, but has added tools for teams or entire businesses that want to find and distribute industry- or department-specific news.

Warzecha said Backstitch’s pivot was the result of cold calls from customers who were searching for a better way to share information internally. “We started getting inquiries from businesses that had people doing it manually,” he said. “So we started working with them to see how we might leverage our platform to automate the process.”

Operating in stealth mode for most of the past year, Backstitch’s four-person team worked with everyone from small startups to nonprofits to large corporations to create the new features. The basic premise is the same: Users can build their Backstitch feed by choosing from a host of traditional news sources—The New York Times, CNN, and Reuters, for instance—as well as YouTube, blogs, and hashtags on Twitter and other social media outlets. Backstitch can also incorporate relevant key words to search for content across the entire Internet.

Backstitch has a nifty new dashboard for teams to use inside of a business to share research, monitor productivity, track industry developments, and engage with customers. Backstitch’s Web app can be used on any Internet-enabled device, and the company has also opened up its application program interface (API) so app developers can incorporate its services into their own creations.

Other new features are the ability to compile and send e-mail digests, an embedded widget for sharing automatically curated content on a customer’s website or blog, and the ability to present Backstitch content as a live feed on a large screen for use at conferences, events, or on the office wall.

Backstitch also has new pricing. For $49 per month, a team of three can use the enhanced tools and pay $2 for every additional user; for $149 per month, a business of up to 15 people can use the tools and pay $1 for every additional user.

Warzecha said response to the new features has been “fantastic” so far. “It’s interesting who’s finding us,” he added. “People all over the world are signing up for business accounts—some really well-known companies,” he said, declining to get into specifics.

Although Backstitch is making money through its premium offerings, it has so far raised about $200,000 in seed capital from mostly angel investors to facilitate growth. Warzecha said he expects to raise a larger funding round in the near future to expand sales and marketing efforts. The company, a Bizdom alum, is still headquartered in the incubator’s co-working space in downtown Detroit.

Backstitch will try to differentiate itself from other startups in the busy content curation and dissemination sector, Warzecha said, through the flexibility it allows users and its commitment to customer service. “We offer a lot of different ways to gather and organize information and get it into the right person’s hands,” he said. “People are finally realizing there is too much information out there, and they need help sorting through it. But this is a new type of tool for a lot of people, so we want to really emphasize our quality of support and service.”

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