SNW INTERVIEW -- Mar 21 -- NewsGator has come a long way since offering FeedDemon. They’ve used what they’ve learned from their years of RSS information harvesting experience and applied it to the emerging, very commercially viable, field of social collaberation. Now they include the likes of Reuters, SAP and USA.gov among their clients. I interviewed the CEO, J.B. Holston to find out more. - Mark Brooks
What is the founding story of NewsGator?
NewsGator was founded about 5 years ago. The company started with consumer RSS applications, including FeedDemon, the newswire for PC, and an iPhone application for Mac that Time Magazine picked as one of the top 10 iPhone apps of the year last year.
I was brought in as CEO with the first round of venture financing. The founder of the company, Greg Reinacker, is our CTO and at the time the initial financing was provided, he already had the brand products and revenue.
While we’re still synonymous with RSS, all of our revenue comes from the business to business side of things. We’re increasingly involved in social computing for the enterprise where our flagship product is called Social Sites.
How can your service help webmasters and site operators?
We have a range of products and services. It depends on whether the target audience is internal to the organization or external. We have products and services for both. One is Enterprise software installed behind the fire wall. The other is SAAS. We have about 150 media, information services, technology and financial services companies who use our Publisher Suite to bring related content for their constituents onto the website and then make that available as widgets and all the way through to mobile devices, on a synchronized basis.
How about an association, somebody who has a group of say 5,000 people that want to create something like a LinkedIn?
Yes exactly. There are two different approaches we would take in that case. If it’s an organization that uses SharePoint for example, we can offer a complete social computing solution on top of SharePoint that they could use to interact. Those who aren’t using SharePoint would use our SAAS based services. In addition, we have a range of mobile applications all of which synchronize with the same service. Recently we launched an iPhone application for Variety.
What does a typical client look like?
On the installed software side we’ve got clients that range in size from 500 seats to 300,000 seats. We have a number of financial services, pharmaceutical, government, and technology clients in particular. So our clients tend to have a large portion of high value added information workers. We also have about 150 clients that range from media companies like Reed Publishing, and to a wide range of B to C customers. And then we have a range of financial services, technology and association, government customers as well to. USA.gov for example. SAP is using our technology for their developer network to aggregate content. Typical customers are Global 2000.
And what’s the typical cost?
If this is an Enterprise behind the fire wall deployment, the pricing is per user. We sell on a subscription basis as well but for the most part our clients tend to license on a perpetual license basis. And there’s maintenance and support annually on top of that. Anywhere from a few thousand dollars a month up to tens of thousands of dollars per month.