Brock Stechman (left) and Brody Dorland launched DivvyHQ in September 2011.
Since its launch in 2011, Kansas City-based DivvyHQ has been accelerating and streamlining processes for content teams around the world, but the company “needed a little bit of rocket fuel” to see its full potential. That boost has arrived, in the form of a seed round from Omaha-based Dundee Venture Capital.
Co-founders Brody Dorland and Brock Stechman both said it was the “right fit” from the start. They were introduced through ABPathfinder CEO Jeff Blackwood––also funded by Dundee––at Big Kansas City in late March, pitched in Omaha a few weeks later, then signed the term sheet while at Big Omaha in early May.
“We wanted to be pretty selective and go with someone reputable who represents the Silicon Prairie well,” Stechman told Silicon Prairie News. “We have a lot of personal friends who have received funding from Dundee. We’re culturally and mentally in line. Right from day one, there was a lot of trust going back and forth.”
In addition to Dundee’s backing, the “spreadsheet-free editorial calendar” recently joined the Digital Sandbox in June, which has provided additional funding. The founders declined to disclose the amounts for either. Before this round the venture primarily had been bootstrapped, with angel investment from friends and family.
But let’s take it back to the beginning.
Dorland was an independent consultant who helped drive content, campaigns and transition companies from traditional to digital outlets. Stechman ran––and still runs––Brockton Creative Group, working on website development, social media campaigns and publishing content. The two partnered often, especially on content plans based on spreadsheets––standard for most content teams then and even now––for companies to carry through. How often those plans failed was striking to them.
“DivvyHQ started when we saw the failure of content plan after content plan,” Dorland said. “We’d put together three- and six-month plans for content marketing efforts spelled out and then hand them over. They’d often die out after a couple months. If something changed in the industry, they’d have to make room for more content and then have to schedule stuff back out.”
They tried a number of options themselves, but none of them covered all the bases for content production. So the seven-person team––with four developers and one in business development––came up with their own solution, a mashup of three tools: calendar interface, project management and content management system.
DivvyHQ aims to take make editorial planning as simple as possible––without the spreadsheets.
They’re in the process of building version 2.0, which will get a major push from the Dundee investment. When that stage is complete, users will be able to take all forms of content––tweets, videos, podcasts, graphics, blogs, etc.––from strategy and ideation to publication and analytics. Teams can keep tabs on what everyone is doing with a feature similar to Facebook’s news feed and follow content through a review and approval process that cuts down on email clutter. Changes also will include a reimagined user interface that adapts to whatever device the user is on.
“We are going to try to make this as simple as possible,” Dorland said. “We want to build the best planning tool, period.”
It’s caught the eye of a number of large companies already. DivvyHQ has gained an array of clients––including McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nokia, AT&T, Intel and Cisco––largely through word of mouth and the strong desire of larger companies to replace their current methods. The co-founders estimated the company has about 250 accounts with 4,000 to 5,000 users. And the pair are hoping that this round of funding will go toward a bigger push for clients and help that number grow: Dorland and Stechman want to expand the team to between 10 and 15 employees in the next year and a half for customer support, development, sales and marketing.
If they hit certain milestones, there will be additional cash infusion from Dundee. And if they need other partners to help scale, Stechman said Dundee is open to finding creative options. The key now is to keep growing.
“We’re basically creating a new segment,” Stechman said. “We want to own the content planning market. We feel like we now have two years under our belt, which gives us a leg up. Funding will help us stay ahead of the game.”
Version 2.0 is scheduled for a September launch at the Content Marketing World event in Cleveland, Ohio. Its pricing options will include lite, pro and enterprise options starting at about $20 per month.
Credits: Photo by Kenny Johnson / Big Kansas City. Screenshot courtesy of Brock Stechman.