Convo Ink lands $1.5m seed funding, helping marketers confront attention economy

Convo Ink has closed a $1.5 million seed funding round led by 3C and M2 Capital. Convo Ink is an Australian martech startup which functions as a smart content marketing engine connecting marketers, content producers and publishers to deliver branded content to audiences.

Convo Ink was founded in September 2021 by Aaron Macarthur, former sales lead at Southern Cross Austereo, News Corp, Allure Media and Verizon Media.

Aaron Macarthur

The startup has deployed an algorithm termed the ‘Quality Attention Score’ which combines three core indexes for measurement of attention: time in view, engagement and environment.

The seed funding will be used to further expand the capabilities of this algorithm, and accelerate delivery on their road map with dynamic content optimisation powered by applied machine learning.

“We are looking to further invest in our attention analytics platform that we launched last month. This data powers our dynamic content optimisation capability, so the ability to invest in machine learning in the coming months will be a key piece of development,” said Macarthur on expansion plans.

“The investment from 3C and M2 Capital allows Convo Ink to capitalise on growth opportunities with our partners who are telling us that content has never been more important in driving commercial growth. Over the past nine months we have seen the critical contribution that branded content has played in overall campaign performance. Our proprietary attention analytics have been pivotal in providing actionable insights to our marketing, content and publishing partners and we’ve only just scratched the surface in applying this capability.”

3C Capital is a UK-based private investment house led by Australian investor Richard Gazal. M2 Capital is a Sydney based private investment firm led by technology entrepreneur, Matthew Hunt.

Richard Gazal, principal at 3C noted: “The technology sector is an important growth area for us, so we jumped at the opportunity to partner with M2 Capital on this deal. We see a revolutionary business in Convo Ink. This is a smart combination of product, tech and data that will shape advertising for the better. We are excited to be in partnership with Aaron and the Convo Ink team as we look to scale this platform around the world.”

The war on attention

Marketers are competing in a more competitive time than ever for consumer’s attention, and content marketing in particular is a microcosm of the hypercompetitive attention economy at play.

“Attention gives the clearest picture yet of the true impact of content. Attention, through content marketing is how we quantify the connection we have formed with customers and it is this connection that leads to trust and influence for brands.” Macarthur said.

Despite the myriad strategies and tactics deployed by digital engagement and growth experts to boost profit margins, Macarthur is firm that ‘quality’ content is still king when it comes to audience engagement.

“I think the quality of content is the foundational key when it comes to retaining attention across any channel. If as marketers, we are focusing on providing audiences with valuable information or entertainment as they go about their days, then we are sure to gain their attention,” he said.

This perspective appears to be corroborated by recent research by Marketing Sherpa that shows improvements in content quality have been known to increase blog traffic as much as 2000% .

Blogging, a content marketing tenet that aims to impart useful knowledge to audiences, is an incredibly economical avenue for marketers, with research from Hubspot indicating that marketers who prioritise blogging receive 13 times more ROI that companies that did not in 2019.

Earlier this month, News Corp announced the purchase of Stockhead, a digital finance news group with a revenue model based primarily on content marketing.

News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman Michael Miller said Stockhead’s content marketing portfolio was a core element that made it an attractive investment.

“Stockhead’s recognised financial information content combined with a thriving content marketing portfolio makes it a very neat and attractive fit for our business,” Miller said.

Adversaries in the martech space

Macarthur is inspired by the art of storytelling deployed by marketers. Despite noting the far reaching impact of commercial content, Macarthur noted that it wasn’t easy for all marketers to tell stories at scale.

“We wanted to give marketers the tools to be able to tell stories at scale, so we went about building a tech platform that would be ‘Canva’ for the world of content marketing.”

The martech space has seen a burgeoning rise in startups refining their offerings in preparation for their IPO.

Several other startups in the martech space have gone through recent funding rounds, aiming to grow and scale pre-IPO.

  • the partnership management platform announced a raft of new hires and promotions to support growth across Australia and New Zealand in February. In July 2021, the company closed a $150 million round of funding at a $1.5 billion valuation in preparation for an IPO, part of which was ear-marked to enable to double the number of its employees across APAC in 2022., a player in the partnership economy works with brands and publishers expand and scale every type of partnership, including affiliates, influencers, strategic business partners, mobile apps, and publishers.
  • Ortto: this customer data and journey management vendor comes off the back of $35 million in investment funding from a number of big hitters, including Blackbird Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and Rembrandt Venture partners. Chief executive officer Michael Sharkey and his co-founder and CTO, Chris Sharkey, returned to Sydney from San Francisco in 2018 to focus on R&D of a new product. Unveiled in mid-2021, the result is a unified customer journey platform for online businesses, underpinned by artificial intelligence.
  • Aussie micro-influencer marketing startup Tribe has landed $5.5 million in pre-IPO funding. Tribe was founded in 2015 by TV and radio host Jules Lund, who was shortly joined by chief executive Anthony Svirskis, Tribe is a marketplace connecting brands with social media micro-influencers. The latest round follows a$10.5 million raise in 2019, which fuelled an expansion into the US market.

Several years ago, Foxtel notably reneged on floating its IPO. News Corporation CEO Robert Thomson remains committed to Foxtel being floated on the stock market.

When asked if he’s concerned that any martech competitors will replicate his business model or offering in the near future, Macarthur was confident Convo Ink’s multidimensional data infrastructure would give clients highly unique and comprehensive insights.

“I’m sure as the industry catches on to the power of content marketing competitors will come and go. But Convo Ink is more than a content management platform – at the heart of our business lies rich data sets on the content that audiences are consuming & engaging with. It is these insights that lead to informed campaign decisions and hence market leading results,” he said.

“The combination of our content marketing platform, with live attention analytics, has the potential to rewrite the book on content campaigns in the future. This is one of the most exciting areas in content technology, the combination of content design with rich data sets to tell truly dynamic brand stories.”


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