CrowdFusion, the new web publishing startup founded by former Weblogs Inc founder Brian Alvey, has received about $3 million in its first round of funding, we have learned. The new round was led by some very familiar blue-chip names: Velocity Interactive Group, the investment firm started by Jon Miller and Ross Levinsohn, Greycroft Partners, our former investors prior to our acquisition by GMG, and Marc Andreessen. The new company is an online publishing platform that will own and develop a series of vertical content sites, not very different from the Weblogs Inc-Blogsmith model that Alvey developed before, and sold to AOL (NYSE: TWX) three years ago. In fact, the new company’s COO Judith Meskill and CMO Steve Friedman are former Weblogs Inc employees.
The company hasn’t yet launched an O&O site, but the first one is expected to launch sometime this Fall, our sources say. ComicMix,a comics vertical site, was built using the CrowdFusion platform, though is not part of this company. In some senses, besides the Weblogs Inc analogy, it is also similar to what Shelby Bonnie is developing with his Whisky Media vertical model, something we wrote about earlier this week. Remains to be seen what kind of vertical sites CF launches, and how successfully it can replicate, scale and monetize those. I have a hunch that the platform Alvey and his team has developed will be more valuable that the content verticals themselves…in fact, the one-page corporate site hints at its eventual future: “Crowd Fusion is a new web publishing platform, built to solve the pain points of publishers at scale.”