By Zak Stone
The next big--and profitable--thing in media will be more of a Tumblr-style platform than a BuzzFeed-style content creator. At least, that's the $300,000-wager of Matter, a media accelerator which just revealed the six media startups who will receive $50,000 each in seed funding, plus training and support during a four-month bootcamp in San Francisco.
Those companies are:
- ChannelMeter, a video analytics platform.
- InkFold, a social news reader.
- OpenWatch, a reverse-surveillance platform to monitor authorities.
- SpokenLayer, a service that transforms written articles into narrated audio.
- StationCreator, a platform for online TV stations.
- Zeega, a multimedia publishing platform.
As you can see, the word "platform" just showed up four times in that list, but probably could've been used to describe all six startups, even though they do very different things.
"We're very interested in `content production engines' versus `content production,' Matter CEO Corey Ford says. "And what I mean by that is people taking very seriously the viability side of what they're building."
Matter is an investor in each company, not a grant awarder, so the business viability of the idea--well--matters. Founded by Public Radio Exchange as an independent venture capital firm with $2.5 million in funding from the Knight Foundation and Bay Area public media company KQED, Matter's goal is to explore new business models for media that can both inform and connect the public while turning a profit.
Ford says that all the companies "either have an early-stage version of their product or service, or they're actually pivoting in some kind of major, strategic way." He expects that the dynamic environment of Matter's shared workspaces will be a stimulating place to figure things out. "The whole idea is that they'll be working side by side with each other," he adds.
The companies will present their final products in June, so look out for one of these companies as 2014's Vine.
Copyright 2013 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.