Pressboard Raises $2 Million to Create Stories, Not Ads

Pressboard, a story marketplace for brands and publishers, announced this week that it has raised $2 million. The round was led by the Vancouver Founder Fund with participation from existing investors.

The capital will be used to expand its branded content marketplace, according to the Canadian startup, as well as further develop Pressbot, an artificially intelligent assistant that predicts how well a story will do before it’s published.

Pressboard connects brands and advertising agencies to more than 300 publishers across North America—including Vox Media, Business Insider, and the Toronto Star—to “create stories instead of ads.”

“Our mission is simple: help companies tell stories that people love to read, watch and share,” says Jerrid Grimm, Pressboard’s CEO.

Unlike traditional advertising pricing models, which charge based on a flat fee or ad unit impression, Pressboard charges advertisers only when people read their content. Advertisers such as GE, Ford, and Chase Bank have utilized the platform.

“Our marketplace gives brands access to hundreds of media publishers with incredible expertise to assist in co-creating those stories,” explains Grimm. “We then layer on our technology to predict, and even guarantee, the performance of each of those stories.”

Pressbot studies more than 150 unique characteristics—such as headline, topic, sentiment, and readability—of every story published to predict how well the piece will perform. It then provides recommendations on how to improve engagement, and also analyzes social signals, such as shares and comments, to suggest which paid and social channels are best to promote the story.

“We’re taking the guesswork out of content marketing for advertisers,” Tiam Korki, Pressboard’s CTO, says. “Pressbot uses vast amounts of data to make machine intelligence accessible to brands and publishers who wish to create more impactful stories.”

Pressboard was founded in Vancouver in 2014 by Grimm and Korki.