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Zephr raises $8m in Series A round led by BDMI

by Peter Smyth Tech Journalist
4th Dec 20 8:45 am

Zephr, the technology platform for media companies to grow their subscription revenue, is today announcing it has raised $8m, led by US-based BDMI and financing from SVB.

The global pandemic accelerated changes in traditional media revenue streams – with consumers increasingly devouring content online. This has resulted in media firms looking to monetise their online audiences and drive revenue through growing their digital subscriber base; which is where Zephr comes in.

To date, Zephr has helped clients see a 150% increase in conversion and well over 25% increase in subscription revenues in less than six months. This success rate is achieved by giving each reader an exclusively tailored content experience, based on their unique characteristics such as location, interests, device and engagement, allowing publishers to build stronger engagement with their audience. One of the major differences of Zephr is that it doesn’t require any coding expertise, so even non-technical teams can easily build, test, implement and iterate online subscription strategies.

Global publishers McClatchy, News Corp Australia, Dennis Publishing and PEI Media are just some of the media organisations that London-headquartered Zephr has enabled to drive online subscription revenue through refining their customer journeys; an industry worth over $12 billion.

Over the last 12 months Zephr has doubled the size of its team, opened their first office in the US in New York City and expanded its customer base across Asia as well as Eastern and Central Europe. It is on track to grow revenues by 3x by the end of 2020.

This latest round of funding sees Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) join with Knight Capital, existing investor Nauta Capital and financing partner SVB, taking the total raised so far to $11 million since mid-2019. The funding will be used to invest in product development with the focus on delivering technology that brings hyper-personal digital journeys. In addition, further investment will go into bolstering the team, growing into different markets as well as further expansion in the US, Europe and Asia.

James Henderson, CEO at Zephr, said: “We want to create a world where every subscription product is tailored to each individual customer; where everyone gets exactly what they want, at the right price, at the right time. It’s this laser-focus on the personal journey that sets us apart from anyone else – and is what has enabled our clients to gain customers for life.

“We’re thrilled to have backing from BDMI, along with our other investors. This Series A funding allows us to invest in further product development, continue to build a world-class team and further expand.”

Urs Cete, Managing Director at BDMI, said: “The recent weakness in the advertising market increased pressure for media companies to diversify revenue streams and aim to introduce or optimize subscription models. We recognise Zephr’s excellent technology that empowers publishers to galvanise the online subscription opportunity and create customer journeys that are truly unique. We are impressed with Zephr’s traction in the media and publishing sector and look forward to supporting the business as it moves into 2021.”

Arthur Nobel, Principal at Knight Capital, said: “We are excited to back James and the team and support them on their journey. Zephr delivers tremendous value to its customers in the Media domain and we believe that the product will be a critical infrastructure element to the maturing subscription economy. As marketing software has personalized communication, we believe that Zephr will personalize the product offering and enable companies to optimize their revenue streams.”

Andrew Parker, Director at SVB, said: “We are excited to deepen our partnership with Zephr as we look forward to being part of its growth journey as it scales to enhance the subscription economy for both businesses and consumers. We’re delighted to see Zephr raise its Series A round, signaling the strength of the business as it continues to innovate, hire and expand internationally.”

Julian Delany, CTO at News Corp Australia, said: “By using Zephr as our paywall platform we have been able to leverage a strong roadmap of new capability, providing more options for our business to optimise both customer and business outcomes.”

The funding will be used to invest in product development with the focus on delivering technology that brings hyper-personal digital journeys. In addition, further investment will go into bolstering the team, growing into different markets as well as further expansion in the US, Europe and Asia.

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