Shorthand, the Australian startup behind any no-code platform that allows publishers and brands to create multimedia stories, has raised $10 million ($8 million) from Fortune Investment Partners. CEO Ricky Robinson informed me via email that this is the first institutional circle of shorthand funding, and the company has become profitable over the past two years.
“We are fortunate enough to grow up there today, benefiting from the beautiful materials that our customers have created to produce lead in the shorthand, through a completely internal, organic model,” Robinson writes. “But we are testing other channels with some success and this is the right time to ramp up these other marketing initiatives. This is where we will spend this fund, investing heavily in our product to keep the new edge of story innovation shorthand for the web.” These clients include the BBC, Dow Jones, Cambridge University, Nature, Manchester City FC and Peloton. For example, BBC News used shorthand to create this story for dinosaur fossil research.
The shorthand website cites the qualities of “scrolling”, where a reader can simply scroll through the story to trigger interesting transitions and effects. Robinson suggested that one way to make stories feel interactive and interesting is “not learn how to interact with your audience.” As you can see in the demo video above, Shorthand provides a straightforward drug and drop interface for adding a variety of text and media elements, as well as effects. Robinson said that like other tools like Webflow and Ceros, Shorthand created for use editors and writers.
In addition, while supporting the use of shorthand themes and templates, he said that is not enough. “Writers need to provide you flexibility without weeding out web design or using complex design tools,” he wrote. “The focus should be on story design, not web design, and that’s what sets shorthand apart, and that’s why our customers are able to consistently create highly engaging, rewarding content for their audiences.”
The agency also said that around the fourth quarter of 2020, subscription revenue grew by 8.8% in February, and demand increased during the epidemic. “The platform provides a rare combination of powerful output and ease of use for content creators,” Fortune Partner Nick Miller said in a statement. “It’s clear why the word shorthand is spreading the word and what it can do for digital communication.”