Kapost Launches Salesforce for Editors

If spreadsheets and long e-mail chains are getting you down, here’s a startup that might help. Kapost is a newsroom platform that works with any CMS to help publishers manage a large team of contributors. We recently met up with with CEO Toby Murdock, a former staffer at AOL, to find out how Kapost plans to be the Salesforce of the publishing industry.

“You don’t have to use Salesforce, but everyone does,” Murdock told mbStartups. “We looked at the publishing industry and saw that it was under a lot of stress and pressure. Publishers, in order to succeed, were using larger groups of content contributors than they had in the past.”

He and co-founders Mike Lewis and Nader Aknoukh created a platform where editors can use concepts submitted by contributors and readers to create assignments, manage an editorial calendar, revise drafts and publish articles to simplify the administrative process across multiple sites. The system works with WordPress, Movable Type, Joomla and other popular content management systems.   “If you’re an editor, your focus should be on the content and the editorial vision for your site,” Murdock said.

At the same time, “publishers are learning that the key to content success is not just the quality of the content, but also how well it’s promoted,” said Murdock. Kapost also tracks unique visitors, retweets, Facebook likes and click-throughs for the whole site and individual contributors.

Fine-tuning the site for publishers has been an ongoing process. Kapost started out with a full CMS to allow clients to produce the content as well as manage contributors. “We had an early customer that gave us a lot, so we thought we were doing the right thing…we ended up being dead wrong,” said Murdock. The publishers told him, “‘we love what you guys are doing conceptually, but we’re very invested in our CMS,” he said. “We wasted a lot of time going down that long path, but we finally learned.”

In August 2010, the team participated in The TechStars incubator program in Boulder, Colorado. In September, the company raised $1.1 million in Series A funding led by High Country Venture and Highway 12 Ventures, with additional funds from Zelkova Ventures, Kal Vepuri, Tango, David Tisch, Jason Kiefer, and David Cohen.

In the future, Murdock told us that freelancers will also be able to manage their assignments for multiple publications.   Currently publishers can keep track of employment forms and payments sent to freelancers, and while this function does not sync with existing accounting software, it will aid in calculating performance-based payments.

Kapost, a freemium service, sells an upgraded package for $59 per month, and quotes individually for larger publications. For a full tour of the site, check out the video below: