Technology

Factal, which alerts companies of breaking news events, raises $3.3M after doubling revenue in 2020

Click to enlarge: Symbols on a map represent the locations where Seattle-based Factal reported relevant incidents around the world during a 24-hour period from Feb. 3-4, 2021. (Factal Image)

New funding: Factal, the Seattle startup which monitors breaking news to help companies assess risks to their business, has raised $3.3 million in a Series A funding round.

The company: Factal launched in October 2018 using a blend of artificial intelligence and experienced journalists to identify and verify events ranging from severe weather to mass shootings. Corporate clients are alerted so they can make smarter decisions related to people, property and operations in proximity to such events.

The startup was founded by key players of the former Breaking News website and app, which attracted millions of followers, but was shut down by NBC News for lack of revenue in 2016. Factal CEO Charlie Tillinghast previously oversaw the creation of Breaking News as an internal startup when he was president and CEO of MSNBC Interactive, the former Microsoft and NBC News joint venture. Fellow co-founders are Cory Bergman, Factal’s vice president of product, and Ben Tesch, vice president of technology.

Factal co-founders, from left, Cory Bergman, Charlie Tillinghast, and Ben Tesch. (GeekWire File Photo / Todd Bishop)

Customers: Factal’s paying clients are primarily the world’s largest corporations, according to Tillinghast. Verification, proximity mapping, customized alerting and real-time collaboration features are directed at customers that span physical security, global risk intelligence, continuity of operations, emergency management, supply chain management and executive protection.

“For 2021 and beyond, we plan to develop similar breaking news products for companies beyond the Fortune 500 who have an equal need to protect their people and operations,” Tillinghast said. “The products will include more easy-to-use desktop and mobile tools that do not require a dedicated security team to monitor.”

Factal’s service extends beyond paid enterprise customers with free, unlimited access for more than 80 non-governmental organizations which provide disaster relief, humanitarian aid and human rights assistance around the world.

Click to enlarge: A Factal map shows the proximity of clients to an incident in the Manhattan area of New York City. (Factal Image)

Strong growth: Tillinghast said Factal’s revenue and number of clients have more than doubled over the last year, and the startup is profitable and cash-flow positive while continuing to grow headcount and marketing.

The company has grown to 28 employees and opened a London office in order to cover the world around the clock.

Investors: The round, which was led by Arthur Ventures with participation from lead seed investor Seachange Fund, includes an additional $1.9 million in secondary share purchases. Factal previously raised $1.2 million in seed funding.

Last word: “The combination of the pandemic, civil unrest, frequency of severe weather, and other disruptive events are causing organizations to expand or create teams to protect their people and assets,” Tillinghast said. “The cost to a company for not protecting its employees, supply chain, and assets from incidents that occur beyond its walls is massive compared to the cost of avoiding unforeseen danger.”

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