Elastic Path has raised an $8 million debt round to fuel the development of its “commerce everywhere,” API — a hypermedia platform that abstracts backend complexity for the front-end developer and business person. Wellington Financial out of Toronto provided the financing.
Elastic Path has traditionally served as an e-commerce company. But over the past few years, it has focused on building an API platform that extends the capability for businesses to take commerce beyond a website.
Vice President of Marketing Matt Dione said the company will use the funding to invest in its API platform.
In particular, Elastic Path will invest in its Cortex API, a touch point broker that is designed to embed e-commerce capabilities where the experience takes place. That might be a website, a mobile platform, or through a car. The API brokers the capabilities on the backend.
The company will also use the investment to integrate with content management companies such as OpenText, with which it announced a partnership this past week.
Elastic Path is betting its future on the concept of the API Economy — this idea that the world is connecting deeper through APIs, which is in turn creating a new form of commerce that is built on a deep distribution network.
When digital publishing platform Glossi launched its public beta last December, it hadn’t quite addressed one of the big questions that revolves around any “future of media”-type platform — how publishers are going to make money. Now the company has made its first move towards publisher monetization through a partnership with affiliate network rewardStyle.
Through the integration, rewardStyle members who create a Glossi (that’s the name for both the publishing platform and for magazines created on it) should be able to access RewardStyle’s directory of products, then drag-and-drop them into their content. Those products will then function as affiliate links, with the publisher paid a commission for the purchases that they drive. Non-rewardStyle members using Glossi can also access the product directory, but without the monetization angle, I’m guessing it’s not quite as appealing.
Glossi founder and CEO Matt Edelman noted that, technically, publishers could already include any links they wanted in their Glossies, so there was nothing stopping them from including affiliate links before — there just wasn’t any real support or integration from the company.
“If the Glossi creator had their own affiliate links, they could try to use them, but we made no assertions that the link would track correctly or display the image or metadata for the product correctly,” he told me via email. “We also did not offer a way for a Glossi creator to display in the Glossi-viewing experience that a product image was actually shoppable, which now will occur when a viewer rolls over a shoppable product image while looking at a Glossi.”
Publishers who have already used rewardStyle to add shoppable content to their Glossies include OliviaPalermo.com. In fact, you check out this “summer trend guide” from Olivia Palermo, where the featured items include “buy now” links courtesy of rewardStyle.
Madison Dyal, rewardStyle’s vice president of sales, marketing, and corporate development, said that when the company first got to know the Glossi team and tried out the product last year, “We were pretty wowed.”
She added: “Our philosophy with partnerships is we want to work with third-party apps that our publishers are going to use no matter what. Glossi is a perfect example of that. … We do see this as a very new way for publishers to publish content, and we’re excited to see how they use it.”
Last week, the company announced new features, including the ability to run Glossi contests, and it said it will soon offer a premium product allowing users to offer paid subscriptions and run advertising.
Gang Lu (center) and the TechNode team at their annual China Bang event in Beijing
TechCrunch has a large international readership — there are no geographical boundaries to the startup revolution. No country demonstrates that vastness better than China, where huge markets, a red-hot economy, a (controversial) governmental hand and plenty of entrepreneurs have rocked the startup world. And giants Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba fuel the fire.
That’s why TechCrunch went to China to stage a Disrupt in 2011, and that’s why today we’re psyched to announce a partnership with one of the top tech blogs and event groups in China. We’ll be joining up with TechNode, and its founder Gang Lu, to bring TechCrunch much closer to China’s startup ecosystem.
Later this year we will launch the official Chinese-language version of TechCrunch (.CN, in case you’re wondering) which will carry translations of posts from the U.S. site. This fall, we will do a small event in Beijing, and next year we will bring a full-on Disrupt back to China. And there’s more to come.
TechCrunch and TechNode share a commitment to link the Western and Eastern startup ecosystems. That includes introducing influential Chinese entrepreneurs and startups on TechCrunch’s global stage and bringing the best of Silicon Valley to China.
The TechCrunch team is really pleased to be working with Gang Lu, whom we got to know when we partnered on the first Disrupt Beijing. He is a serious technologist (that’s Dr. Gang Lu to you — a Ph.D. in wireless networks), a media pioneer and a respected voice in the China startup scene. Gang Lu and our readers in China have been waiting patiently for us to get on track in China. Now we finally are.
In this week’s Ask A VC episode, Freestyle Capital’s Dave Samuel joined us in the studio to discuss his investment philosophies and more.
Samuel also talked about how and why his co-founder relationship with Josh Felser has been so successful. The duo co-founded Spinner (acquired by AOL for $320 million), and Grouper (acquired by Sony for $65 million). In 2011, Fesler and Samuel formally launched Freestyle Capital, which makes investments in early-stage startups.
Check out the video above for more!
Skyscraper launched last year as a pretty straightforward blog advertising service with a focus on helping bloggers make money through direct ad sales. That’s still a main part of its business, and it is currently serving up more than 1.5 million ads every day, but as its co-founder Paul Burger told me last week, the company’s focus is slowly shifting to becoming a full-service blog monetization service that “covers all bases.” Until today, Skyscraper was only available as a closed beta, but it’s now open for all.
Today, Skyscraper is also launching its integration with VigLink, a service that helps publishers turn their links to retailers into affiliate links without the need to sign up for all of the 30,000 retailers the service currently supports. Thanks to the partnership between the two services, turning this service on will take just a few clicks for existing Skyscraper users.
As Burger noted when I talked to him, this is just a first step in Skyscraper’s shift to offering a broader range of services. The team, which has now grown to four after the company raised a $500,000 seed round last year (and added a few vowels to its name in the process), realized that, while direct-ad sales are important for independent publishers, most use a variety of methods to monetize their sites. To do so, most use a multitude of services and constantly switch back and forth between them. In the long run, Skyscraper wants to become a dashboard for all of these services as it expands its offerings. One area Skyscraper is thinking about in addition to the VigLink integration, for example, is sponsored posts.
With today’s launch, Skyscraper is also making its new WordPress plug-in available for download, which will make it even easier for the vast majority of bloggers to get started on the service. One nifty feature of the plug-in is that it not only makes the integration easier, but also installs a widgetized version of Skyscraper’s media kit that bloggers can use on their “Advertise Here” pages to funnel potential ad clients directly to Skyscraper.