Our Investment in Sympoz

by Ryan McIntyre

We are pleased to announce that we have completed our initial investment in Sympoz,.  Sympoz, located in Denver, CO, creates enthusiast communities at the intersection of education, publishing, social and commerce, which inspire and educate enthusiasts while enabling experts to grow and monetize their followings.

Our distribution theme, including our investments in Zynga and Cheezburger, has shown us that delivering engaging content on a vast distribution network can make for a compelling company.  One of the secrets of these companies’ success is spending relatively small amounts on content, over many different verticals and subject matters, and not relying on a “hits driven” content business.

We’ve been continuing to look for companies that fit this mold.  The idea of owning content, across many major subject matters, on a large network, where content creation costs are relatively low is appealing to us.  As part of this model, it is important to invest in management teams that understand the analytics driving the business extremely well. We feel strongly that these types of companies are best served by management teams that are led by business people with strong operating backgrounds.

Sympoz is creating the type of company described above around the enthusiasts and experts market.  Enthusiasts have an insatiable desire to connect with experts and fellow enthusiasts to learn, inspire, buy, sell and trade against their areas of passion.  The subject matter can be anything from wine tasting to knitting to music to health and wellness and beyond.

In these areas of passion there are many experts.  These experts struggle to monetize their expertise because they are not adept at digital content production, technology development or marketing and lack a platform with which to leverage their expertise.

In short, there is a large disconnect in the market which represents billions of dollars in lost opportunity. Sympoz’s highly differentiated and interactive platform uses video, chat, forums, social media, and gamification techniques to create and market these marketplaces.  They create highly targeted and specific content for enthusiasts, while giving a web presence to experts who otherwise would not have a digital content outlet.

We have known the founding team for a few years and have been really impressed with their success and vision to date and are excited to begin to work with them more closely.

Oh yeah – they are hiring too.  Please check out their hiring page. And no, they aren’t all engineering jobs, either.