SAN FRANCISCO, May 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Ripple.co, a city-focused news platform powered by local journalists and storytellers, has raised $4 Million in Series A funding from top Silicon Valley investors and media heavyweights to change how people discover and engage with local stories. Ripple, previously in beta in San Francisco and Oakland, launches publicly today, adding city newsfeeds in New York, London, Cairo and Bangkok.
Investors in Ripple include Rakuten, Greylock Partners, Graph Ventures, Social Capital, Charles River Ventures, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors, Pejman Mar Ventures, Matter Ventures, 500 Startups, Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab, and angel investors Blake Krikorian, Magdalena Yesil and Shane Smith.
"By combining location technology and a contributor community, we're solving the very real problem of discovering relevant local content," said Razmig Hovaghimian, Ripple Founder and CEO. "We are creating a hub for city news and stories happening right around you, tapping into the pulse of your city.
"News has always been predominantly local," said Josh Elman at Greylock Partners. "What's exciting about Ripple is that they take each story, identify its origin and then deliver the stories that really matter around you. Essentially Ripple wants to be your 'nearby' button for news, wherever you may be."
Ripple offers hyperlocal video news and stories through its community of contributors, known as Ripple Correspondents, combined with curated news from local media partners. Users in San Francisco's Mission District, for example, will find daily stories from Ripple Correspondents on the ground in the Mission, who live and report from the Mission, as well as from local news partners, such as KQED (NPR), Mission Local and Hoodline. Global news partners include Coconuts Media, Global Student Square, Global Voices, News Deeply and Reportedly.
"Ripple's foundation is city-focused journalists who live, work and play in the communities they cover. We'll deliver the local stories and news where users also live, work and play, whether it's after they've hailed a ride or messaging with friends," said Hovaghimian. "Our mission is to uncover and amplify important stories, spreading them from neighborhoods to the rest of the world and sparking thoughtful conversation."
"Ripple differs from other local news sites because it encourages community members to go out in their community and tell original stories," said Tim Olson, Vice President, Digital Media and Education, KQED. "This contrasts two trends; one is 'parachute reporting' where people only fly in to a community when there's a fire or shooting; and, the other is 'internet reporting' where people just cut and clip stuff online and don't actually talk to people."
"As the need for quality local news coverage increases in face of media cuts, Ripple has the potential to fill an important gap," said said Benoit Wirz, director for venture investments at Knight Foundation who leads the Knight Enterprise Fund. "It offers a unique model for community storytelling and distribution that holds lessons for other news organizations."
Prior to launching Ripple, Hovaghimian co-founded Embrace and Viki.com, leading it from inception to exit to Rakuten in 2013. Ripple is based in San Francisco, and its co-founders were previously at YouTube global news, CitySearch and The State.
Ripple is available at www.ripple.co and as a "News" app in the App Store and on Google Play.
Ripple.co is a city-focused news platform powered by storytellers and journalists. The company launched in March, 2016 and has secured $4 million in Series A investment from top Silicon Valley venture capitalists including Rakuten, Greylock Partners, Graph Ventures, Social Capital, Charles River Ventures, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors, Pejman Mar Ventures, Matter Ventures, 500 Startups, Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, and angel investors Blake Krikorian, Magdalena Yesil and Shane Smith of VICE Media. The company was founded by serial entrepreneur Razmig Hovaghimian, who co-founded Embrace and Viki.com, and lead it from inception to exit to Rakuten in 2013. Ripple.co is based in the Mission District in San Francisco.
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