Social News Reader Flud Expands to Serve Businesses

9/24/12Follow @XconomyDET

Flud, creator of a social news reader that delivers visually appealing, shareable news streams to consumers’ mobile and tablet devices, has pivoted slightly to offer a version of its platform tailored to businesses. The San Diego and Detroit-based startup wants to disrupt the current intranet and inter-office email mode of conversation, with all those annoying reply-all responses, so last week it invited 50 Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and Europe to participate in a private beta launch and test out its product.

Co-founder and CEO Bobby Ghoshal sees an opportunity for Flud to be a key part of the way employers and co-workers communicate and share news, whether it’s news items relevant to their industry or about the company itself, or private news meant only for internal consumption. “It’s an expansion of what we built eight months ago, but we built an entire security layer in order to bring the product into businesses,” he explains.

Businesses will have access to a dashboard which includes an authoring tool, a custom push notification engine, and analytical data to help companies monitor the performance of their content. Ghoshal says all a business user has to do is enter their work email, and they’ll automatically join the company news feed. Flud plans to monetize its enterprise content service by charging businesses a per-seat subscription fee.

Flud’s Android and iPhone apps for consumers will remain free, as Ghoshal says Flud has no desire to clutter users’ news streams with ads. “The reason we expanded to enterprise content is because we don’t like eyeball impressions as a model, especially in a space so saturated,” Ghoshal adds. “It’s better to have users pay for a platform they like. We’re all about the developer and the user—that’s a really important relationship to us.”

Ghoshal says Flud has already netted “quite a few” commitments to its new, paid business platform. Although he can’t specifically name the companies until after the 60-day private launch has ended, he will say that one of Flud’s customers is his “favorite computer company” with thousands of employees globally.  If Flud can snag a company like Apple or Google as a customer—never mind several companies of that size—investors like Detroit Venture Partners and Ludlow Ventures could be looking at a nice payday.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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