Seattle’s newest technology blog – GeekWire – just broke the story this morning: we’re delighted to announce our investment in Highlighter, a social commenting, sharing and note-taking platform for digital publishers (including this blog – just select any text in this post to see how it works).
Co-founders Josh Mullineaux, Matt Blancarte and Nate Whitehill developed the idea as members of the inaugural TechStars Seattle class of 2010. The team had previously built a profitable WordPress theme business – Unique Blog Designs – so they came to the program with strong team dynamics, proven hustle and a deep understanding of the needs and pain points of online publishers. Their core insight was a powerful point of alignment between readers + publishers:
- Readers want to annotate, bookmark, save and share the content that interests them most
- Publishers want to connect + build relationships with their most engaged readers
Most online publishers offer some form of commenting system, but readers often struggle to contextualize post-level comments, and comment threads on popular sites are often overwhelmed by spammers and trolls. Threaded commenting systems (e.g., Disqus
) and stronger identity management (e.g., Disqus + Twitter / Facebook oAuth) can help, but none of these give readers what they really want…
…the power to save, annotate and share the specific content or images that captured their attention in the first place.
In the spirit of agile development, Highlighter began with a simple WordPress plugin, but after driving over 7K downloads in that community alone the team has been running hard at a universal version that offers the same social commenting, annotation and sharing technology to *any* digital publisher. Early reviews in the publisher community have been incredibly strong and this raise gives the company plenty of running room to deliver a fantastic product that absolutely knocks the socks off their publishing partners.
If you own a digital content site (e.g., blog, consumer resource site, news site, etc) and are looking to connect with your readers at the exact moment they’re most engaged with your content, give the Highlighter guys a shout
to find out what they can do for you.
Congrats to Josh, Matt, Nate and the entire Highlighter team!