Israeli startup Playbuzz, which operates a popular platform for interactive content, has raised $35 million in a Series C funding round, led by Viola Growth, with participation from existing investors such as media giants Disney and Saban Ventures. The round brings the company’s capital to a total of $66 million.
Playbuzz will use the investment to expand its global footprint, with a focus on its branded content business which already works with Fortune 500 brands to create and distribute advertising campaigns.
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Founded in 2012 by Shaul Olmert and Tom Pachys, Playbuzz is a storytelling platform known primarily for its entertaining quizzes. It is used by top publishers such as AOL, Fox, NBC and Yahoo, to create and monetize interactive stories that drive audience engagement.
The Playbuzz platform enables publishers to create visually engaging editorial content – no design or development skills necessary. Commercial brands also tap the company to create interactive branded content campaigns that Playbuzz then distributes to its network of tens of thousands of publishers.
“Working with top media companies over the last five years has put us in a unique position to identify opportunities for growth and develop innovative technology to improve audience engagement,” Olmert said in a statement. “Playbuzz’s evolution into providing monetized content solutions to publishers and brands is of substantial value to our partners.”
According to the startup, its platform powers 12,000 online engagements per minute. It boasts a four-minute session time, compared to the 15-second industry standard; and its branded content campaigns are consumed by 65 percent of the users, as compared to the 24 percent industry benchmark, Playbuzz claims.
According to Harel Beit-On, Founder and General Partner of Viola Growth, “as Playbuzz continues to grow, it will increasingly become a strategic partner for brands and publishers, all of whom must speak the language of modern consumers. The Playbuzz platform enables them to do just that, translating their content to meet the needs of today’s readers.”
Playbuzz employs 150 people in its offices in Tel Aviv, New York, London, Hamburg, São Paulo, Moscow and Los Angeles. The platform’s growth is attributed to its adoption by leading publishers, who use the company’s interactive storytelling and real-time analytics tools to engage users, boost their reach, raise brand awareness, improve monetization capabilities, and optimize content for social interaction. The Playbuzz network reaches hundreds of millions of users every month through its partners and through its own website, playbuzz.com.
Photos: Victor Levy/Playbuzz