Connectus

SaaS company focused on cloud-based PR, marketing and media solutions.


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Market

Media Intelligence and Public Relations Information & Software Spend at USD 2.99 Billion.  Segments include media monitoring; media analysis; contact management; press release distribution; and social media monitoring, measurement and engagement management.

[Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Media Storage, Blockchain]

Connectus. Connecting people and brands to create better business.

Connectus is a technology company specializing in the development and sale of proprietary cloud-based (SaaS)* PR, marketing and media solutions for businesses and consumers (marketing & information services sector and application software sector). 

Connectus is working on four products; NewsBox (Newsbox.com), Planable (Planable.com) and Sounds (Sounds.city).  Focused on NewsBox, this presentation offers an overview of the NewsBox platform and touches on Sounds, Sents and Planable, still in pre-release.

NewsBox, the charter product (@newsbox.com), is a dynamic, cloud-based media intelligence platform which is a disruptive combination of the power of social media, functionality of content management and distribution, and a unique content ecosystem.

NewsBox is a multi-sided platform that provides an uncluttered news feed for reading content from quality pre-screened publishers and publishing tools, including auto-optimization, media asset storage and distribution management, for content creators to more efficiently create, reach and communicate with readers while reducing technology management costs.  

NewsBox is integrating with popular content creation and collaboration products, giving users of those platforms the ability to push content to their followers on NewsBox as a ‘destination’ site.  NewsBox is also integrating with other social networks, giving users the ability to share content and push to those networks, which creates a central repository for content distribution.  As a destination site, NewsBox helps fill the need for quality platforms to publish native content.  Unlike competing products, we are on-boarding readers while also integrating with a large number of popular platforms to extend reach.  

Our site distribution network includes 300 premium websites including ABC News, CNN, Time, People, Fortune and Wired and over 100,000 sites in general distribution.  NewsBox goes beyond views and clicks by letting viewers follow the NewsBox user and provide a service described as a cloud-hosted media-rich newsletter.

NewsBox gathers data from across the web, and from publishers publishing on the platform, to provide a hub of media intelligence.  Our unique media monitoring can provide mentions, trends, sentiment and other valuable data that goes beyond free keyword alert systems.  Our up-and-coming insights and analytics will provide valuable dashboards for various users in a number of verticals, including healthcare/pharma, legal, and entertainment, while also addressing the needs of the departments within companies and organizations that our users represent.

[*] SaaS companies; instead of developing and marketing downloads or disks, offer software online as a subscription service.

Problems

  • Reputation management
  • Cost justify quality content creation
  • Cluttered platforms
  • Reach targeted readers
  • Premium subscription management

Overview

  • News Reader
  • Newswire
  • News Monitoring & Alerts
  • Media Intelligence, Analytics & Reporting
  • NewsBox Site Embed
  • News Feeds
  • Cloud Storage & Collaboration (Images, Video, Documents)
  • Mobile News
  • Opportunities
  • Marketplace (publishing marketplace)
  • API (data)

Product/Service Details: NewsBox, Sounds and Planable

Read.  Publish.  Monitor.  

NewsBox is an affordable, cloud-based SaaS solution that combines the best elements of popular PR software, social media monitoring tools, content distribution and business intelligence systems into a single platform useful to various departments within a business.  It is a stable, mature, fully supported platform.  The NewsBox solution helps companies manage paid, earned, and owned media on a single platform, providing options to advertise, reach journalists and influencers, and integrate data, widgets, and tools into existing websites and other media.

NewsBox provides comprehensive, yet affordable, media monitoring while delivering more value than simple key-word tools or news readers.  Search engines index web content regularly, but they often don't catch content immediately after publication, especially from lesser known long-tail publishers and blogs, and they don't have access to premium content behind the paywall.  

NewsBox media intelligence platform helps businesses reduce risk and associated costs, and provides a faster, more organized solution for the information worker to manage media mentions and following content of importance.

Every company has a brand.  Online content affects the company’s ability to attract and maintain customers and talent.  The company’s brand can be over 70% of the company’s value.  The old way of monitoring media mentions was to manually save newspaper and magazine clippings, or hire a PR company to compile.  

NewsBox is a great option for anyone to self-manage their online PR but is ideal for ad agencies, PR firms, professional service firms and corporations.  PR firms can use NewsBox for online brand management.  Marketing departments can use it to publish native content for inbound marketing and measure ROI.  Management can use NewsBox to stay on top of competitors, follow influencers and stay current on industry news from a broad range of top publications.

NewsBox is an intelligent alternative to current outdated newsletter solutions.  Newsletters account for over 65% of marketing e-mails sent.  NewsBox gives publishers the ability to reach readers without e-mail yet still includes e-mail for non-NewsBox members.  By using less e-mail, NewsBox reduces spam and the associated likelihood content will not reach a reader’s inbox.  Users can host high-resolution graphics on NewsBox instead of adding them to e-mail and risk being stopped by firewalls and e-mail filters.  

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Sounds, being built from thought behind NewsBox, is a platform curating news about artists and providing tools for artists to manage their brand, connect with fans and discover opportunities.  Focused on a single vertical, Sounds will deliver local content in each city, and offer a way for artists to manage media content in an online press kit (OPK) before releasing publicly.  Sounds will also provide access to job postings (gigs) and an inexpensive way for artists to manage media mentions across a range of public and premium (paywall) publishers.

The 6 month goal for Sounds is to pre-sell sponsorships, on a per city basis, to help offset the high upfront cost of software development.  The goal is $1.5M.  (We will go into more detail upon request from registered investors.)

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Planable, available at Planable.com, is the first ever crowdsourced platform for planning (patent pending).  The single biggest obstacle to getting anything done is not having done it before.  We all have challenges, whether we are traveling somewhere for the first time, renovating our house, going to school or planning for our retirement.  While board services exist for curating content, they don't bring everything together for planning and they don't offer the extra help people often need to make decisions.

Initially focused on consumer travel, Planable.com will offer a basic plan building tool, offer existing plan templates and provide ways for users to connect to friends and associates.  Planable users will be able to ask community questions and get help from ranked and rated expert planners using Planable's premium services.  Similar to how search engines recommend sponsored posts when people are searching for terms, Planable will recommend product and service providers, free and sponsored, at the point when users are making plans.

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Sents, available at Sents.co, is a fintech product solving the age old problem of lending money between friends and family.  While there seems to be an increasing number of payment options and currencies available, there isn't currently a platform that can help two independent parties manage a loan between those to parties.  Going to a bank is expensive and complicated and, especially when lending within a family, may not make sense.  So, we are making Sents.  If a father wants to lend money to one of his children, he can create a loan, set terms, set reminders and access documents for tax reporting.  If he wants to transfer the loan to a commercial lender, he can do that at any time and commercial lenders are able to see loan history to make offers to the borrower.

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Connectus will continue to work on innovative products.  As Connectus products, we will integrate Planable, Sents and Sounds into NewsBox to provide additional options for NewsBox users to reach targeted readers in various verticals including travel, finance and entertainment, three of the top online verticals.

We are very excited about the progress made on each product so far.

Traction, Accomplishments & Goals

NewsBox has over 20,000 registered users (including 2 presidential candidates, the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and many notable celebrities), 3,400 registered publishers regularly publishing between 2500-3500 new articles per month.  We regularly see registrations from notable influencers and their representatives including PR and marketing firms.  The total monthly users is relatively small when comparing against incumbent social networks, but we project a significant increase in users after implementation of a few key features.

NewsBox aggregates news from over 55,000 global news sources and gives readers the ability to subscribe to publishers or follow one of over 800 news categories.  The product roadmap includes expansion of content across more media sources and types including social, blogs, forums, review sites, broadcast media and even using to machine learning and artificial intelligence to monitor audio.

We've collected invaluable user feedback over the past couple of years and continued with extensive market research including but not limited to exhibiting at industry trade shows, feedback groups and constant user testing.  We are using data to steer future product development to fuel user growth and provide maximum value to users.

We successfully built the majority of a new version we call NewsBox 3.0 and have secured partnerships with leading technology and data providers to make significant improvements to the content and user experience.

Connectus has secured the trademarks for Connectus, NewsBox and Planable and the respective top-level domains and social channels.  The company has made pre-registration sites available for Planable and Sounds and hundreds of people have signed up to receive notice of launch.

We've secured valuable domains including newsbox.com and received over 30.2K inbound links and growing.

Our short term achievable goal is to reach one million readers. The one million readers will create demand for more integrations with popular content platforms, providing access to larger pools of users to fuel future growth and associated revenue.  We are working on strategies to efficiently and effectively upgrade and manage premium users.  Our goal is to convert 3-5% of users to one or more premium options.  

A platform with one million readers would have an estimated value of between $40 million and $200 million, based on comparable per-user valuations.  (Snapchat per user valuation is approximately $128.  Facebook is $195.)  NewsBox's value would not lie solely on the number of users and traffic because the media intelligence tools in NewsBox have value independent of users.

How We're Different

Main Product Differentiators:

a) Build a network of followers

b) Create an online press kit for managing access to media (PRSafe)

c) Low cost comprehensive news monitoring for brands and SMB

d) Content automation for intelligent content distribution

e) Access to premium publishers, behind the paywall

f) Discover opportunities to hire writers, find quality sharable content, identify influencers, connect with experts and monetize content.

Why Company Needs Funding.

  We have invested a significant amount of money in previous versions of the software and our new version is the most recent interation.  With over 10,000 hours invested, we have the experience and research to take Connectus to the next level.

We have a strong core team of contributors but need to take our most recent version to market and need a few key staff to help round out the team.

Our twelve month product roadmap includes a modest investment in new technology to build a truly world-class news platform.  This funding will provide enough capital to expand the amount of content offered on the platform, focus on building the userbase and sales and marketing efforts to convert users to our premium offering, and focus on building our team to properly support our customers.

Our user growth strategies are touched on in our details plan, including estimated (CPA) cost per acquistion of free and premium users.

 

*Some features mentioned in this overview are not currently active due to costs related to the features.  Our product development costs include fine tuning existing features and continuing to make modest improvements to the platform.

Find our profile on GUST - https://gust.com/companies/connectus

*This offer is for accredited investors only.  If you are an accredited investor and wish to participate in this offer, you can either register on Fundable or contact the company directly.  Fundable, unlike some other crowdfunding platforms, does not take a portion of your investment.  The minimum investment is $500 at this time.  All funds go directly to your investment.  If you prefer to contact Connectus directly about this offer, you can do so at funding@connectus.net. 

CONTACT

To access the full investment offer, you can register on Fundable or contact us directly.  Fundable will ask you if you to confirm that you are an accredited investor.

You can contact us at funding@connectus.net or calll 410-292-6323.

Team

Gary Pick - President / Founder

Seasoned business owner with over 10 years of soft dev experience. 


He has over 10 years of experience managing software development projects including work in project management, programming, design (UI/UX) and prototyping, and has extensive experience with telecommunications including voice and Internet services. As a senior product manager, he has experience working with teams including: talented engineers, designers, QA and DevOps. Gary is a former Master Partner of Qwest Communications, then one of the largest telecommunications providers in the United States. He spent over 10 years working in the telecommunications industry with an initial focus on mobile technologies, is AT&T certified (former employer was an AT&T network solutions provider). Over 15 years of sales and marketing experience. Currently belongs to organizations including: Public Relations Society of America, Baltimore PR Council, (LMA) Legal Marketing Association, American Marketing Association and The National Press Club, and is a former member of the National Society of Professional Engineers.


Graham Dodge - Advisor

Leader in digital monitoring space. 


Graham is CEO of Sickweather, the 'doppler of sickness,' a platform using social network data to track illnesses including flu. Graham is a leader in digital disease surveillance who has served on boards and technical workgroups for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as providing mentorship to students at Johns Hopkins University's MedHacks program. He has been named a "Social Innovation Rockstar" by Yoxi/BOLD, and featured among Broadband for America's "Faces of Innovation", among other honors. He is a frequent guest/speaker for domestic and international conferences and news programs. Graham is providing guidance on a number of development challenges, providing invaluable feedback based on his extensive experience in some of the leading technology incubation programs in the United States.


George Earl - Consultant - Data Analytics

A leader in data science 


An Information Engineer and Analytics Expert with 20+ years' experience in the Financial Services, Retail, and Software Development industries, George has led advanced analytic teams known for results. At PayPal, George led a global team of analysts and BI specialists to develop world class actionable intelligence. His role as a leader at several of the world’s largest banks, technology companies, and numerous successful start-ups has allowed him to battle test his strategies and vision. George is providing guidance on our data and analytics including training of analysts and overall data management. He is also helping us with build out of the insights and analytics section of NewsBox.


Andrew Haley - Design and Marketing Analyst

An energetic creative strategic thinker 


Andrew is a creative thinker with a recent degree from Xavier University. He has experience working in creative teams at Black & Decker and notable creative agencies in Baltimore.


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