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NewsWhip nabs $6.4 Million Series A to shed light on what’s trending

As publishers — scrambling for revenues and audiences in a rapidly changing media industry — try to get a grip on how to make the best use of social platforms like Facebook and Twitter (without simply conceding traffic to those social platforms), a startup that’s building tools to help them surface interesting content has raised $6.4 million in funding to grow its business.

NewsWhip — which tracks what stories and themes are trending, along with influencers, and provides that data to publishers and brands so that they can follow the money, so to speak, and build out their editorial strategy — is getting its funding from two strategic investors, The Associated Press and Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. Also participating were VC firm Tribal Ventures, unnamed clients of investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, and previous investors Enterprise Ireland, Matter VC, Social Starts, and AIB Seed Capital Fund.

The AP and Asahi Shimbun are already users of NewsWhip, alongside other media companies like the BBC and the Washington Post, as well as brands like MasterCard. Before this latest round, NewsWhip had raised under $3 million with previous investors including the AP, 500 Startups and others.

NewsWhip was founded in Ireland by Paul Quigley and Andrew Mullaney 2012 and started life as a would-be Flipboard competitor, providing news digests to the public by way of an app. These days, the app no longer exists and the company focuses solely on analytics and building out as a B2B business, with a database that it says contains millions of datapoints that may not otherwise be as easily tracked by its customers.

“Across the media ecosystem, NewsWhip is replacing hunches and guesswork with hard data and predictions. Each minute, we’re matching content and stories with the people who need to know about them. Our long tail data helps shape editorial strategy at the most important media outlets and brands,” said Quigley, NewsWhip’s CEO, in a statement.

It says this latest funding infusion will be used to grow out its tech even further. A measure of where it sees its ambitions going can be viewed in a product launch from Tuesday of this week: a new analytics product that NewsWhip says can provide social signals for all kinds of problems, from predicting elections to figuring out when to market a hot or cold coffee shop drink (and which specific drink it should be).

To be sure, there are thousands of market intelligence big data players in the market today, and one in particular, Dataminr, sounds like a close competitor to what NewsWhip is doing. Ultimately, it will be those whose insights can lead to the most rewards for their clients that will likely survive.

It seems for now that NewsWhip could be one of them.

“The Associated Press uses NewsWhip tools every day, and that tool set keeps expanding. We’re excited to be a part of that growth,” said Jim Kennedy, SVP for Strategy and Enterprise Development at the AP, said in a statement. “From trend-spotting to historical analytics, NewsWhip is providing an essential view of the social news ecosystem.”

As well as using the funding for expanding its products, NewsWhip will also be hiring both in Dublin and its second HQ in New York. Areas where it’s looking to bring on more talent include product, machine learning, commercial strategy and marketing and sales.

Along with this round Conor Stanley, founder of Tribal Ventures, will be joining the NewsWhip Board; the AP’s Kennedy and a representative of Cantor Fitzgerald will also join the NewsWhip Board as observers.

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