The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been nice to anyone this year, not even to the media industry. 2020 has been a true test for the traditional media companies that are facing a great deal of uncertainty due to falling ad spend.
Furthermore, the consumer demand for online content has increased in this period too. This has resulted in media firms looking to monetise their online audiences and drive revenue through growing their digital subscriber base.
This is where London-based Zephr fills the gap. Zephr (formerly known as Blaize) helps leading media businesses and brands providing everything from paywalls to identity management tools.
Recently, the company secured $8M (approx €6.5M) funding, led by US-based BDMI, the investment arm of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann.
Knight Capital, a software-focused investment firm based in Amsterdam, Nauta Capital, a pan-European venture capital firm with offices in London, Barcelona, and Munich, and the renowned Silicon Valley Bank participated as well. This round takes the total funding up to $11M (approx €9M) since mid-2019.
James Henderson, CEO at Zephr, says, “We want to create a world where every subscription product is tailored to each individual customer; where everyone gets exactly what they want, at the right price, at the right time.”
How will the funding be used?
The funding will be used in product development, bolstering the team, and further expansion in the US, Europe, and Asia. According to the company, Zephr has doubled the size of its team, opened its first office in New York City, and expanded its customer base across Asia, as well as Eastern and Central Europe in the last 12 months. It is on track to grow by 3x by the end of 2020.
Founded by James Henderson, the UK startup has developed a solution that enables publishers to monetise their digital users through subscription products tailored to each individual, without the need for coding. The technology identifies the digital behaviour of the user and processes this through a dynamic paywall.
Using the Zephr dynamic paywall technology, even non-technical teams can design, test, and deploy new reader registration, trial, subscription, and retention journeys instantly using intuitive, code-free drag-and-drop tools, claims the company.
150% increase in conversion
Zephr says it has helped its client see a 150% increase in conversion and well over 25% increase in subscription revenues in less than six months. Its clients include global publishers like McClatchy, News Corp Australia, Dennis Publishing, and PEI Media.
Julian Delany, CTO at News Corp Australia, says: “By using Zephr as our paywall platform we have been able to leverage a strong roadmap of new capability, providing more options for our business to optimise both customer and business outcomes.”
The company is led by James Henderson (CEO), Felix Danczak (COO), and Chris Scott (CTO) from London, UK, and employs 40 people.