Knight Foundation invests in Umbel to provide new audience measurement standard to media companies

Startup Umbel empowers publishers with audience intelligence that creates new leverage in advertising and sponsor negotiations

Austin, Texas, May 15, 2012 – Umbel, which aims to set the standard for digital audience measurement, today announced that Knight Foundation participated in the company’s $3.7 million Series A round of venture financing through its Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund, a new, early-stage venture fund dedicated to advancing media innovation. The amount of the strategic investment was not disclosed.

Umbel marries traditional research and big data analysis of social sources to give publishers real-time intelligence about the audiences that engage with them. With this information in hand, Umbel empowers publishers to convey their audience’s true value and brand preferences more effectively to advertisers and sponsors. The recently-raised funds will be used to support new hires and aggressively execute on the product roadmap.

“By enabling news providers to become more data driven, Umbel makes original, online news content much more valuable,” said Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation. “At a time when newspapers are losing $7 to $10 in print revenue for every $1 gained in digital revenue, being able to significantly boost the digital side will dramatically strengthen the ability of media organizations to inform and engage their communities.”

“Knight Foundation was a clear choice of investor for us. Our missions align and we have immense respect for all the foundation has accomplished so far. Their endorsement is great validation of Umbel’s technology, vision and purpose and through their large network of media, educational and nonprofit partners, we will deliver a new standard for measuring digital audiences,” said Paul Krasinski, Umbel’s CEO. “We're tackling a huge problem holding back almost all media companies, brands and non-profits today. The data to solve the problem absolutely exists. We will bring forth the technology that transforms that data into insights and puts publishers back in control over the the value of their hard-earned audiences.”  

Knight Foundation is the nation’s leading funder of journalism and media innovation. The foundation has invested more than $100 million in media innovation since 2007, mainly through grants to non-profits. The Knight Enterprise Fund, which was launched in 2010, invests funds from the foundation’s endowment in for-profit start-ups aligned with Knight’s mission, which is to promote informed and engaged communities. This helps Knight Foundation stay abreast of the field of media innovation and enables the for- and nonprofit sectors to inform, complement and improve each other.

Umbel announced its $3.7 Million Series A round of venture funding, led by Austin Ventures, in April 2012. In addition to Knight Foundation and Austin Ventures, several notable angels contributed to Umbel’s Series A funding round. These investors include Herbert Simon, Chairman and Director of the Simon Property group, the largest publicly traded real estate investment trust in the United States and owner of the Indiana Pacers, and Gordon Paddison, CEO Stradella Road, and former EVP New Media Marketing at Newline Cinema.

Umbel is currently in private beta and expected to bring its first product to market in Q3 of 2012. For more info about Umbel, visit: http://www.umbel.com/

Full press materials, including detailed company information, product screenshots and company logos can be found here: http://www.umbel.com/about/press/

About Umbel

Umbel is the standard for digital audience measurement.

Umbel is an audience measurement company that cross-­correlates big data from social and other sources to empower publishers, agencies and advertisers with revenue-­generating insights. Umbel leverages social data at great scale to deliver unique insights about the people who engage with a site, service or brand.

Umbel was founded in 2010 by Meredith Maycotte, Higinio (H.O.) Maycotte, Travis Turner and Nick Goggans. Based in Austin, TX, Umbel is currently in private beta.

To learn more about Umbel, visit: http://www.umbel.com/

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

For more information about the Knight Enterprise Fund please visit: http://www.knightfoundation.org/apply/knight-enterprise-fund/

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MEDIA CONTACT:

John Robert Reed, Jones-Dilworth, Inc., johnrobert@jones-dilworth.com, 512-567-9768

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.