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

Click to enlarge: Icons on a map represent the places where Factal, based in Seattle, reported relevant incidents worldwide within 24 hours from February 3rd to 4th, 2021. (Factal image)

New funding: Factal, the Seattle-based startup that monitors breaking news to help companies assess risk to their business, raised $ 3.3 million in a Series A funding round.

The Company: Factal was launched in October 2018 with a mix of artificial intelligence and skilled journalists to identify and review events from severe weather to mass shootings. Corporate customers are notified so they can make smarter decisions about people, property, and operations around such events.

The startup was founded by key players on the former Breaking News website and app, which drew millions of followers but was shut down by NBC News in 2016 due to a lack of revenue. Factal CEO Charlie Tillinghast previously oversaw the creation of Breaking News as an in-house startup when he was President and CEO of MSNBC Interactive, the former joint venture between Microsoft and NBC News. Co-founders are Cory Bergman, Vice President of Product at Factal, 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: According to Tillinghast, Factal’s paying customers are primarily the largest corporations in the world. Verification, proximity mapping, custom alerting, and real-time collaboration capabilities are aimed at customers who encompass physical security, global risk intelligence, business continuity, contingency management, supply chain management, and executive protection.

“In 2021 and beyond, we plan to develop similar breaking news products for companies beyond the Fortune 500 that have the same need to protect their employees and their operations,” said Tillinghast. “The products will include more user-friendly desktop and mobile tools that don’t require a dedicated security team to monitor them.”

Factal’s service goes beyond paid corporate customers and offers free, unlimited access to more than 80 non-governmental organizations that provide disaster relief, humanitarian aid and human rights assistance worldwide.

Click to enlarge: A fact map shows the proximity of customers to an incident in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. (Factual picture)

Strong growth: Tillinghast said that Factal’s sales and number of customers have more than doubled over the past year, and the startup is profitable and has positive cash flow as its workforce and marketing continue to grow.

The company has grown to 28 employees and has opened a London office to cover the world 24/7.

Investors: The round, led by Arthur Ventures with the participation of lead seed investor Seachange Fund, includes an additional $ 1.9 million in secondary stock purchases. Factal previously raised $ 1.2 million in seed capital.

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

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