Building off the strength of a successful open source project, a new startup that provides newsfeed development and management as a service — Stream — has raised $1.75 million in its first round of funding.
The new service is unrelated to the open source project, but both have their roots in what Stream co-founder Thierry Schellenbach saw as a problem — no one, except the biggest media companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram seemed to be able to do feed technology well.
The original open source project that Schellenbach and his team developed is about three years old and has been downloaded 250,000 times.
Last June, Schellenbach and his co-founder Tommaso Barbugli left their previous startups and in August began to work on Stream.
The Boulder-based company, which was put through its paces in the Techstars NY accelerator program and was founded in Amsterdam, managed to round up a slew of investors including Brad Feld/FGAngels, Techstars Ventures, Tahoma Ventures, Social Starts, Galvanize, Dharmesh Shah, Wayne Chang, Jud Valeski, Kyle Wild, James Powell and others.
Over the past years, feeds have gone from a social setting to become widely used in a wide range of applications. Thierry Schellenbach, CEO, Stream
“Over the past years, feeds have gone from a social setting to become widely used in a wide range of applications,” says Schellenbach. “It has become this really widespread usage pattern… Even really large companies are using feeds. The cost of using an in-house solution goes up as your business grows.”
According to Schellenbach, there are over 500,000 apps that are still building and maintaining their own feed technology.
So far, 120 companies are “in production”, or working with Stream to set up the service, and the biggest is a Polish company: GoldenLine.pl, which offers a job board and placement services.
Originally founded in Amsterdam, Schellenbach was introduced to Techstars NY managing director Alex Iskold — a serial entrepreneur who had worked with some companies in Europe. The two began speaking and within hours, Iskold was working to get Schellenbach to apply to the New York program.
As with many young immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S. visa issues soon arose, and (thanks to some personal connections) Schellenbach was forced to relocate the company from New York to Boulder. That’s where Feld and his Colorado crew came in to round out the company’s first fundraising efforts.
“I would have applied for an L-1 or have gone the E-2 route, but that would have taken half a year to a year to arrange,” says Schellenbach. “The visa side of things is a big challenge. You just have to deal with a lot of bureaucracy.”