Lehi—Watch out, Buzzfeed; there’s a new interactive content creator in town.
Boombox, a creative suite from Movement Ventures that launched Thursday, lets website producers add interactive content like quizzes, polls and lists—features that previously were reserved for big sites with dedicated engineers, said Movement CEO and co-founder Josh Little.
“We really anticipate this as being the go-to platform if you want to create anything on the web. We feel like we’re democratizing content on the web by allowing anyone to create Buzzfeed-like content on their site. In the past, it’s only been the publishing elite who could spend months and thousands of dollars making something. Most people don’t have that,” he said. “In order to remain relevant on the web, you have to create content. In order to stay living and stay in Google’s good graces, you have to have this constant stream of content.”
Boombox’s pedigree includes Qzzr and Pollcaster, which have been used over the past year or two by more than 80,000 websites, including CBS, Yahoo! and Lonely Planet. Little said Qzzr and Pollster are more stand-alone products than the Boombox platform, but Movement’s experience with those products has helped it prepare for whatever clients—or the web—throw at Boombox.
Case in point: in February of this year, a photo of a striped dress befuddled the internet as users argued about whether it was blue and black or white and gold. Gawker posted a poll using Qzzr called “What Color Is This Goddamn Dress?” The response was enormous and almost immediate.
“Nobody knew that dress controversy was going to be so popular, not even Gawker. That quiz was taken like 1.6 million times in probably eight to 12 hours,” Little said. “That was a fun night. We had two of our engineers sleep at the office just to keep it live.”
The fact that Utah’s thriving tech scene helped birth Boombox is only surprising because until recently, Little lived in Michigan, where he had also built Qzzr and Pollster. After hiring one person for this project from Utah, Little decided to come out to meet his new employee, and on a whim, posted about wanting to meet up with other members of the tech community.
“I had 25 people who wanted to meet up and talk shop. I was just blown away with the community and the understanding they had about SaaS and the talent and culture,” he said. “I ended up hiring four people that week and I realized I hired my whole leadership team in Utah and moved my company from Michigan to Utah because of that.”
Although Little bootstrapped Qzzr and Pollster with no outside funding, he did decide to court businesses, angel investors and venture capitalists to help give Boombox a boost.
“I decided when we did our seed round that I strategically wanted to have Utah firms so they could expand my network, which was weak at the time,” he said. “That’s turned out to be a wonderful relationship.”
Little did court Bay Area firms as well, but his biggest injection of funding came from the Utah-based Pelion Venture Partners. Choosing Pelion’s offer was simple, Little said, because of the company’s rich background in ad tech and online media; Pelion’s portfolio and willingness to partner made the match an easy one.
The $5.5 million in Series A funding is like putting rocket fuel in Boombox’s tank, Little said, and he’s excited for what the future will bring for the platform.
“Customers have a long list of requests and they’re pretty vocal about them, so we’re going to continue to build up these content tools they’re vying for and round out Boombox in a way that our customers are helping shape,” he said. “We feel like we are living the dream.”