Owlin Secures $250K in Seed Funding

11 DECEMBER 2012, AMSTERDAM
Summary
Owlin, a real-time news analysis and notification company, has secured $250K of funding from NoRo Venture Capital. The one-year old start-up has developed an innovative real-time trend and news detection system. With its technology, aimed at financial institutions and governments, users no longer have to search for news - relevant news is pushed straight to their dashboard. Owlin helps users to specify the news they want and makes sure it is delivered instantly.
The system also enables users to do real-time in-depth analysis of the news topics and shows the buzz and reliability of news items. Owlin provides financial institutions and governments the tools they need to analyze the web and allows them to be the first to receive actionable intelligence, enabling better understanding and faster response in case of strikes, high-impact publicity or disasters.  
 
This funding represents the second portion of seed funding for the company. Owlin received its first seed investment as part of start-up program Rockstart.Accelerator. After Demo Day, Owlin secured a bigger investment to make help realise its mission.
 
Owlin is a new way of detecting events, analyzing the web and ranking news. Nowadays everybody can be an editor, news can pop up on all kinds of online channels. The giants in the news industry can't keep up with the mass of niches by their sheer numbers alone. Owlin brings order to this chaos by looking at millions of blogs and news sites, applying complex algorithms to highlight critical information, important trends or breaking news. By cutting out the middleman and looking in the right places, Owlin can deliver bottom-up news 10 to 15 minutes before Bloomberg or Reuters.
 
It's a dream come true for its two founders, Richard Kraaijenhagen and Bas van Ooyen. At the age of 20 and living in a little town in the Netherlands, they found that school didn't challenge them sufficiently. So, they dropped out, started their own company and, within a year, got selected from hundreds of start-ups worldwide for Rockstart.Accelerator. They moved to Amsterdam and before they even realized, pitched in front of dozens of people and negotiated with venture capitalists. Talk about a steep learning curve!
 
That the founders are exceptionally talented was again proven during their stay in Silicon Valley. Last minute, they decided to join the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in San Francisco. Within 24 hours they built an application for DropBox which was awarded first prize for making the most innovative use of DropBox services.
 
In the meanwhile the founders attracted Sjoerd Leemhuis, who previously held functions in the finance sector, as business developer. They are expanding the team with senior developers and quants. The investment will give them enough runway to start serving customers in the first quarter of 2013.
Quotes
"I see a lot of opportunities in the data Owlin collects, the fact that they are able to do real-time analysis is in my opinion very valuable." Werner Vogels - CTO & VP Amazon.com
"Real-time news analysis is a hot topic. Owlin provides a powerful solution that goes way beyond our own digital sense. It's a very promising idea for a promising market." Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten - Co-founder The Next Web
"Per day, more content is published than one can possibly read in an entire lifetime. Owlin knows how to transform all this content into useful information. Such innovations and technologies almost often come from small innovative companies and very little from the big corporates. For me it is a proof that startups add value to the world." Oscar Kneppers - Founder Rockstart
"Owlin has the potential to become not just a local hero. It once more shows that the start-up scene in Amsterdam is alive and rocking." Michiel Verberg - CEO Whatser
"I was used to bureaucratic and slow development processes at the places I worked. This all changed when I met Bas & Richard, the energy these guys have and the speed at which they operate and apply their knowledge, is unbelievable. Working together with these smart guys is great!" Sjoerd Leemhuis - Co-founder Owlin
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About Owlin

About the Company:

Founded in 2012 and based in Amsterdam, Owlin extracts actionable intelligence from social media, newswires and tweets. In 2012 Owlin was selected out of 354 startups globally to be part of Rockstart's Accelerator program.

About the Team:

Richard Kraaijenhagen - Co-founder & Data Miner
Richard started his career at TwitterCounter and worked on the social statistics of Obama and Lady Gaga. In his own time he developed technology that scans written content from any website in 2 seconds and structures them in a way that deep analysis can be done. Realizing that he just built a very powerful tool, he decided that this had to be the beginning of his own company.
 
Bas van Ooyen - Co-founder & Artificial Intelligence
In his spare time, Bas contributes to many open source projects. He contributed code to FreeBSD and worked on code now used by NASA. Just before he started working full-time on Owlin, he made his living with another company and built high performance data clusters. He believes that nobody should control your news demand.
 
Sjoerd Leemhuis - Co-founder & Business Development
As a former ORMIT management trainee, Sjoerd worked in the finance sector as an advisor and project leader for several years. He was on the finance team of the biggest merger in the Netherlands in history (ABN Amro and Fortis). He leaves a promising and comfortable career behind for an entrepreneurial adventure. He thinks that (secretly) everyone wants to have his own business. He believes that it's up to the fast growing startups to get the world out of crisis.
 
About NoRo Venture Capital
Both partners of NoRo Venture Capital bring in more than 50 years of experience in the financial sector. They stimulate innovation by investing in a broad portfolio of high-tech startups with their fund. They both worked as traders for a while and therefore know how important it is to receive low latent, accurate and reliable news. They would use the Owlin news dashboard without doubt if they would still be trading.
  

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