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Noah Brier of Percolate on Brand Marketing and Finding Co-founders

Learn how Noah Brier and James Gross bootstrapped their startup to help brands create content at social scale and why Brier believes entrepreneurs should find a co-founder they...

In the latest installment of Success Stories, a series highlighting the personal and professional journeys of some of the most dynamic entrepreneurs, YFS Magazine speaks with Noah Brier co-founder and CEO of Percolate, a New York-based startup that helps brands sort and curate content on the social web.


Like any great startup story, New York-based co-founders Noah Brier and James Gross came across their business idea in October of 2010 — over coffee. Brier and Gross set out to solve the most fundamental question brands have in social media: “What should I talk about?” Several months later, in January of 2011 Percolate was created.

In today’s real-time social web, there are many challenges that keep brands from creating content. Brier and Gross decided to take a technological approach to content creation.

As the former Head of Strategy and Planning at Boston-based interactive marketing firm the Barbarian Group, Brier first recognized the niche opportunity that Percolate could capture. In March 2011, Reuters came on as their first client, licensing the API. After months of bootstrapping the founders landed a $1.5 million seed round led by First Round Capital and a variety of angels, according to AdAge. Fast forward to the end of 2012 and Percolate boasted a roster of more than 30 Fortune 500 clients.

 

Percolate founders Noah Brier and James Gross; Source: Courtesy Photo
Percolate founders Noah Brier and James Gross; Source: Courtesy Photo

Brier attributes Percolate’s growth to speed and scale. “Before the internet, messages were measured by months in market, not minutes. Brands created a few pieces of stock content each year and then spread those messages out in bursts,” Brier explains.

“While stock is still a key part of internet content, brands need to create more content, more frequently. That’s where flow comes in: Smart hits of curated content that are relevant and inexpensive, but still convey quality and allow the brand to leave their stamp.”

Learn how Noah Brier and James Gross bootstrapped their startup to help brands create content at social scale and why Brier believes entrepreneurs should find a co-founder they can “productively” disagree with.

Company: Percolate
Founder(s): Noah Brier, James Gross
Location: New York, NY
Industry: Business Services
Startup Year: 2011
Startup Costs Undisclosed

How We Got Started

I used to run strategy at a digital advertising agency called the Barbarian Group. I was there for about three years. In addition, I write code and I built a product called BrandTag about four years ago, which I sold to another startup in New York.

[pullquote align=”right”]“We are excited about technology, brands, and content and thought there was a better, more scalable, way to help brands create the content they need for the social web.” Noah Brier[/pullquote]

My co-founder James and I had known each other for a while and we were working on the same problems from different angles, he was on the publisher side (at Federated Media) and I was on the agency side. We both knew that “social” was coming and it would be a really big part of a brand’s digital marketing puzzle.

Social requires a lot more content because it’s real-time, sustained, and global. We saw an opportunity to build a technology platform that would help brands create content at the scale they would need without being a traditional, linear cost model.

We took note that the marketing industry is becoming more technologically focused. And we’ve stayed pretty true to the vision. One of the things that I think we did well early on is that we set a really big vision for ourselves, which was to transform the marketing industry through technology.

As social continues to grow and become more global and complicated, marketers are going to need tools to help systematize [the process]. We want Percolate to help transform the way marketing functions within the enterprise and help CMOs become CEOs.

 

Percolate Team; Source: Courtesy Photo
Percolate Team; Source: Courtesy Photo
 

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