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  • 26 Feb 2015

    Facebook's Most-Shared Publisher to Start Paying Its Quiz Makers

    PlayBuzz's User-Generated Posts Account for 98% of Its Content

    Even if you've never heard of PlayBuzz, you've probably come across its end product. Its platform is behind such Facebook quizzes as "Which Disney Mom Are You?" and lists like "18 Photos That Prove That Online Dating Is Terrifying." The company, thanks to the virality of such content, has become the most-shared publisher on Facebook -- yes, topping even BuzzFeed. And it's done so without paying for most of the content it publishes. That's starting to change.

    Commonly called a "BuzzFeed clone," PlayBuzz has parlayed its quizzes and listicles into Facebook popularity. In January people shared more PlayBuzz stories on Facebook than any other publisher, according to social content analytics firm NewsWhip. But PlayBuzz, which launched in January 2014, doesn't consider itself a publisher.

    "We're not a publisher in our DNA. We don't have an editorial staff," said PlayBuzz CEO Shaul Olmert, son of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.

    Mr. Olmert isn't exaggerating much when he says PlayBuzz doesn't have an editorial staff. The 50-person company does have an internal content team of seven employees, but that staff typically handles content moderation and trains publishing and brand partners on how to create content on PlayBuzz.

    PlayBuzz's content staff will sometimes publish articles to test new pre-formatted article templates, like one that enables people to create trivia posts, but it only accounts for 2% of the content posted to PlayBuzz, Mr. Olmert said; eight months ago the company said the figure was 10%. PlayBuzz's community of 5,000 creators account for the remaining 98% of its content, using the site's several article templates to create their own quizzes and listicles that are published on PlayBuzz.

    As the amount of user-generated content on PlayBuzz has grown, so has its traffic. In January 2015, 14.7 million people in the U.S. visited PlayBuzz's site on their desktop computers, tablets or smartphones, according to comScore. That traffic has grown by 201% since May 2014, the earliest month for which figures were available. PlayBuzz's internal figures claim the site received 80 million unique visitors around the world in January, Mr. Olmert said.

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    "This is a way for PlayBuzz to hedge their business model," said eMarketer analyst Paul Verna. Like most publishers, PlayBuzz relies on people sharing its articles to Facebook and people clicking on those Facebook links to read the articles on PlayBuzz. But it's just as reliant on people to create those articles. "I think it's part-and-parcel to make the people who contribute invested," he said.

    In order to pay these people, ad-supported PlayBuzz will need to improve what it offers advertisers. Right now the site carries so-called "remnant" ads sold through automated ad auctions that typically prize the ad's audience over its surrounding content. This ad-network revenue generates "decent money," Mr. Olmert said, noting that the company is profitable. However it was never PlayBuzz's intended revenue stream and likely couldn't sustain the company's revenue-sharing plans.

    "We started as a pure [business-to-business] play. The dream was to be used by thousands of different publishers and make money by charging them for premium services," Mr. Olmert said. The strategy has half-worked. Tens of thousands of publishers including NBC, AOL and Yahoo create content on PlayBuzz or embed the site's stories on their own sites. But those publishers only bring in a minority of PlayBuzz's traffic, he said. People unexpectedly gravitated to the site on their own. 

  • 25 Feb 2015

    Payoneer Welcomes Payments Industry Veteran Neil Platt as Chief Revenue Officer

    Payoneer’s unique cross-border payments platform continues to attract top industry leaders. In his new role, Platt will oversee top-line business growth at Payoneer.

    Payoneer Inc., a leading online payments company transforming the way businesses and professionals send and receive cross-border payments, has appointed Neil Platt, former SVP, Payments at Fiserv and EVP of CashEdge, as Chief Revenue Officer.

    Mr. Platt joins Payoneer with an extensive background in payments. In more than 10 years at CashEdge, he grew the company from a pre-revenue startup to an industry leader, serving most of the large banks in the U.S., including seven of the top 10. After Fiserv acquired CashEdge in 2011, Platt stayed on at Fiserv as SVP, Payments, where he led the integration and roll-out of CashEdge products to thousands of Fiserv clients. Earlier in his career, Platt was a consultant with McKinsey & Company.

    In his new role at Payoneer, Platt will lead all revenue-generating functions, including sales, marketing, account management, product management and business development. He will be responsible for driving Payoneer’s continued success by developing and implementing new growth strategies and effectively managing the company’s top-line expansion.

    “Payoneer is transforming cross-border business payments globally and we were looking for a creative, experienced executive to help us continue our rapid growth,” said Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer. “We’re very excited to have Neil bring his expertise in managing fast-growing payments companies to Payoneer.”

    In 2014 Payoneer was recognized for the third consecutive year by the Deloitte Fast 500 for 762% growth over the past five years, as well as ranked in the top 100 financial services companies for the second year in a row by the Inc. 5000.

    “Having spent close to 20 years in the financial technology industry, I’ve witnessed several generations of payments innovation as the business has moved online,” said Platt. “Payoneer has proven to be a leader in cross-border payments innovation, and the company’s immense growth mirrors that. I’m thrilled to join the team to help them drive continued growth and manage their ongoing success.”

    To learn more about how Payoneer is empowering global commerce with cross-border payment services, visit the Payoneer website.

    About Payoneer
    Payoneer empowers global commerce by connecting businesses, professionals, countries and currencies with its innovative cross-border payments platform. In today’s borderless digital world, Payoneer enables millions of businesses and professionals from more than 200 countries to reach new audiences by facilitating seamless, cross-border payments. Additionally, thousands of leading corporations including Google, Airbnb, Elance-oDesk and Getty Images rely on Payoneer’s mass payout services.

    With Payoneer’s fast, flexible, secure and low-cost solutions, businesses and professionals in both developed and emerging markets can now pay and get paid globally as easily as they do locally. Founded in 2005 and based in New York, Payoneer is venture-backed, profitable and ranked in the top 100 of Inc. 5000’s Financial Services companies. For more information, visit us at http://www.payoneer.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook

  • 16 Feb 2015

    Samanage Awarded to AlwaysOn 2015 OnCloud 50 Companies to Watch

    Leading provider of cloud-based IT service management software honored as one of the top private companies in the cloud marketplace. 

    Samanage, the leading provider of cloud-based enterprise service desk software, today announced it has been named by AlwaysOn as one of the 2015 OnCloud 50 Companies to Watch.

    The private companies on the sixth annual AlwaysOn OnCloud 50 Companies to Watch (formerly OnDemand 50 Companies to Watch) are recognized for the creative and innovative ways they are bringing cloud technology into businesses around the world.

    “We are honored to be recognized among the innovative companies on the OnCloud 50 Companies to Watch,” said Doron Gordon, CEO, Samanage. “As one of the top companies shaking up the cloud-based software space, we continue to build momentum and deliver enterprise service management software that quickly drives value by connecting people with the key business services they use every day.”

    Samanage was selected based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value and media buzz. The companies making the list were selected by a panel of investors, bankers, journalists and industry experts around the globe.

    This recognition builds on other recent accolades from AlwaysOn. In 2014, Samanage was named as an AlwaysOn Global 250 winner, and recognized as one of the OnDemand 2014 Top 100 Companies to Watch.

    The AlwaysOn Top Companies Showcase will be held February 26, 2015 in San Mateo, CA.

    About Samanage
    Samanage is enterprise service desk software that manages service relationships in the company and helps get work done. Samanage delivers an exceptional user experience with beautiful software that people love to use. Instantly deployed and continuously updated in the cloud, Samanage service and asset management software lets you quickly drive business value by connecting your people with the key business services they use every day.

  • 25 Feb 2015

    RT @ironSourceGroup: IronSource raises $20 million to cap off its first funding round http://t.co/4wcj6aRGGK @geektimecom
  • 25 Feb 2015

    #TheNewDataCenter event by Carmel, trends&innovation by big and emerging players. http://t.co/GUDosbXGgq http://t.co/ytp1Ds6KeG
  • 25 Feb 2015

    RT @vladi_vexler: Starting #TheNewDataCenter event headed by @carmelventures, should be interesting

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Carmel Ventures  is a venture capital firm, empowering early stage start-ups to become category leaders 

Founded in 2000, Carmel Ventures is managing over $800M across four funds. As Israel’s top tier VC firm, we invest in Israeli or Israeli related early stage companies and build global category leaders. Carmel invests across a number of key market segments including: software, new enterprise infrastructure, big data, digital media, consumer applications and semiconductors.

  Our team approaches the investment as a proactive, hands-on endeavor. Carmel Ventures typically leads or co-leads investments and take an active role on the Board of Directors while keeping a low ratio of companies per partner. With strong M&A and IPO experience, the Carmel team has backed a disproportional share of Israel’s category leaders that generate over $50M in annual revenues, including: Outbrain, ironSource, Payoneer, and more.

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