Contentful Raises $33.5M To Change How Organizations Manage Content

Most content management systems (CMS), like WordPress, run on stable but difficult to manipulate software.

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For readers, that may mean slow loading times and a lackluster reading experience; for newsroom and content staff, it means limited presentation and editing options; and for developers, it means coming up with technical solutions and integrations that are often difficult to grok, maintain, and change.

Many of these problems are rooted in how tightly coupled the various parts of a CMS are. In the case of WordPress, the database (MySQL), the WordPress app itself (what you as a content creator interact with), and the theme visitors land on are part of one “stack.” If you think of WordPress’s stack as a jenga set, you’ll have a sense of how difficult it can be for developers to add or remove blocks without making the tower fall.

Contentful aims to change that current technical paradigm by “decoupling” where content is stored from how content is displayed. To do this, each piece of content, such as the headline of this article, is made accessible to developers via an application program interface (API). An API-based content management system, especially for the modern web, is easier for developers to manipulate across platforms, apps, and websites. Meanwhile, content creators get the benefit of writing and changing content in one repository, knowing that it will change across all platforms seamlessly.

It’s a new way of thinking about content management, and it’s a concept that is uniquely suited to an Internet increasingly powered by javascript frameworks. But transitioning from old standards to new ones costs (a lot) of money.

To fuel this change, investors have put an additional $33.5 million into Contentful as part of its Series D raise announced today, with Sapphire Ventures leading the round. With this latest raise, the startup has pulled in a total of $78.3 million.

Compared to other content management systems built on the same concepts, it’s a substantial amount of money. Crunchbase News research, based on Crunchbase data, pegs it as one of the most well-funded startups in the space. Contentful plans to use its latest influx of cash to “further strategic partnerships” with agencies and improve “authoring workflows and integrations with tools for optimization, personalization, and more,” according to its release.

Still, inertia is hard to break. Automattic, which is a unicorn that created WordPress, has raised a total of $317.3 million and powers, according to the company, over 25 percent of websites on the Internet today. Additionally, WordPress is going through its own, somewhat painful, transition to a more javascript and API-based content management system. And for folks who aren’t tech-inclined, Contentful and its ilk will likely stay out of reach. For now, developers are still very much needed to push such systems live.

Still, for enterprises, news organizations, and large companies with developers who are feeling constrained by legacy content management systems, Contentful is likely an attractive option. Those customers also tend to have large budgets—an attractive source of returns for investors.

And now Contentful has a newly-stocked bank account of its own to work with as well.

iStockPhoto / z_wei

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