Y Combinator Startup Posterous Raises Round, Launches Group Blog Feature
This past summer, I had a great time at the Y Combinator Demo Day, schmoozing with guests and watching some altogether fascinating demos from the incubator’s latest batch of startup companies. One of those that made my list of favorite demos was Posterous, which today announced a $750,000 funding round from a group of high profile investors that include Zimbra CEO Satish Dharmaraj, Eric Hahn, former CTO of Netscape, Guy Kawasaki, and New England’s own Mitch Kapor. Posterous also announced a cool new product: group blogs.
Posterous’ shtick is “dead simple blogging.” Its software automatically converts anything you e-mail into your Posterous account—be it a video clip, text snippet, photos, PowerPoint, Word document, or virtually any other type of attachment—into a downloadable blog post. As Michael Arrington wrote in TechCrunch today: “Just start emailing text and files (images, video, whatever) to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ve got a site where it all goes. And they’ve steadily added features. You can, for example, repost all the stuff you email in to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr or wherever.”
I caught up with Garry Tan, one of the Posterous co-founders, this morning around 8 am EST, when he was just about to go to sleep in San Francisco, where the company has moved. Tan says they’d been up all night with the launch (at midnight West Coast time), Arrington’s interview, and so on. “Just a regular night,” he quips.
Tan says that Dharmaraj and Hahn led the new round, Posterous’s first aside from the typical small Y Combinator infusion. Also joining was XG Ventures, an angel group formed by a bunch of ex-Googlers, as well as the likes of Bill Lee, Tim Ferriss (of “Four-Hour Workweek” fame), David Sloo, Aydin Senkut, Peter Barrett, Kapor and Kawasaki (who’s involved in a blog-aggregation venture called AllTop). Another New England investor is Bill Warner, who founded Avid Technology.
Tan had nothing but good things to say about his Y Combinator experience here in Cambridge this summer. “A really amazing experience. Definitely prepared us well for raising money and iterating on the product and growing the user base,” he told me. Compete lists Posterous as having about 130,000 unique visitors per month already. “That’s U.S.” Tan points out, though he would not confirm any numbers.
The group blogs feature announced today takes Posterous’s ease of use to a wider context—your friends, family, softball team (in my case, it would be fantasy team), and the like. “You don’t even have to create an account for people,” says Tan. “All you have to do is enter their email address, which is one field.”
For example, my family site might be buderisite.posterous.com. So family members would e-mail whatever they wanted posted to email@example.com. “It really is as easy as telling your mom to e-mail this thing, and you could have a family blog,” says Tan. (Posterous isn’t the first blogging tool to take a retro, back-to-basics approach—that’s also the pitch at Tumblr, which raised a $4.5 million B round two weeks ago led by Boston’s Spark Capital.)
If you want to learn more about Posterous’ new group blogging feature, here is the company’s own post about it, with examples.