Flockler is a new start-up from Tampere, Finland, that offers a Twitter-like online publishing platform with two products: Reporter and Deal Flow. The Reporter tool allows professional or citizen journalists post short news stories that appear in a feed on the newspaper's webpages. Other users can share, 'like' and in the future comment on each story. Savon Sanomat is currently using the tool for its Kiekkoviisaat service where hockey fans post latest sports news. Aamulehti uses Flockler to run its Nettikampa tool where journalists post various 'soft news' content from the web. Flockler's second product, Deal Flow, helps small businesses put an online ad to their local newspaper: the short text also appears in a feed on the paper's webpages.
Flockler is a spin-off from Geniem - a decade-old Finnish software company that focuses on branded mobile and web applications. Toni Hopponen, one of Flockler's founders, said the technology behind their service was being developed for the past three years but the company was only launched early this summer. Flockler received undisclosed seed investment from two business angels and are planning to close the next round (300 000€-500 000€) early next year. The two products have different business models: 'reporter' tool has a traffic-based monthly subscription fee and 'deal flow' is charged by the newspaper in question with 30% of the price going to Flockler.
Combining two products in the same start-up is tricky because it can dilute one's focus and translate into mediocre execution. Though Toni claims the problem is less acute for Flockler because both of their tools provide a solution for the same problem: increasing readers' and advertisers' interaction with the newspaper. The Reporter tool has already some use cases and there are more in the pipeline, but nothing similar was said about Deal Flow. Both of the tools would need to acquire considerable traction to take off: it's already quite easy to set up Facebook ads and target them at a specific population and many people share news on Twitter and other social media. That said, having stories on the same subject in a dedicated place with people from your community can definitely prove to be qutie appealing.