How wide is the reputation of Boston’s startup scene spreading? Across the pond, anyway, to a new, London-based blogging platform called Glipho, which just opened its second office right here in the Hub.
“The American market is very important, and we wanted to position ourselves there as soon as possible,” founder Roger Planes told me. “For me, it seems the startup scene in Boston is starting to grow, and it feels like a much better place for us to start” than other US cities.
A three-person marketing team set up shop last month at 1 Winthrop Square, sharing office space with two other small companies. Planes, a Barcelona native, remains in London with four developers.
Glipho is out to rival Blogger and Wordpress in the blogging market, pitching itself as easier to use and better at social media integration. The latter is Planes’s specialty. He moved from Spain to the United Kingdom three years ago for a job at Square Digital, a London media company, where he did front- and back-end website development with a focus on social media strategies.
In his limited spare time, Planes tried blogging about social media best practices.
“But I just gave up in the end,” he said. “I spent too much time deciding [on] my design. I spent too much time adding Twitter follow buttons, Pinterest follow buttons. Once I started writing, I didn’t even have time. And I started thinking, ‘What if you had a website where you could just write, and what if you had all the social media integration?’ ”
Planes said a fundamental weakness of Blogger and Wordpress (both of which he tried) is that they were created before the explosion of Facebook and Twitter, and therefore were not designed with social media in mind.
Glipho, which Planes launched last year, resembles a social network (the layout reminds me of Pinterest, actually). Like Facebook and Twitter, it offers a single design template. Writers can automatically push their blog posts to social media. Readers can “follow” their favorite writers and topics.
Wanna embed a YouTube video in your post? Forget about copying and pasting code. Just drag and drop.
And if you’re already blogging with one of the other guys, and aren’t quite ready to make the switch, you can synch your existing blog to one on Glipho, use them simultaneously, and see which service you like better.
So far, Glipho has attracted roughly 10,000 bloggers, who have authored more than 250,000 posts, or “gliphs.” Planes reports that 35 percent of users are from the US — the same as from the UK — and the rest are scattered among more than 120 other countries.
The company has raised $750,000 in two rounds of angel investing and is, Planes hopes, on its way to becoming a fixture on the American blogging landscape, thanks to its new outpost in Boston.
“We tried to stop thinking about what everybody else is doing and just thought about how you would want and need a blogging platform to work,” he said. “We think it’s pretty powerful.”