Trying Zemanta

Location of Slovenia within Europe and the European Union on the 1st of January 2007.

Image via Wikipedia

One of my favorite VC quotes comes from Bill Kaiser of Greylock. He once said, "when I hear about a company once, I often ignore it, when I hear about it twice, I pay attention, when I hear about it for the third time, I take a meeting".

It happened to me this week. I met with Reshma who runs seedcamp, the european version of Y Combinator, on Monday and she told me about Zemanta which came out of last year’s seedcamp. Then I saw this blog post about Zemanta on Techmeme the next day. And then on Thursday, Alex Iskold, founder of our portfolio company Adaptive Blue, introduced us to Andraz, one of the founders of Zemanta.

Three hits in one week is absolutely a "pay attention" notice. So this morning I am trying Zemanta out. The image and most of the links in this post were automatically provided by Zemanta.

Zemanta is a blogging tool plugin that provides a set of advanced services for finding related content (photos and related posts). It also provides something I’ve wanted for a long time, a way to do a tumblr style reblog in typepad.

The company is based in Slovenia and was funded through relationships it made at seedcamp. I am very interested in what’s going on with seed stage web startups in europe right now. I’ll be over there next month and will spend some time trying to get a sense of things. One stop is likely to be Slovenia to meet the Zemanta team.

Zemanta Pixie
#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. falicon

    It’s interesting to see/hear about what they are doing…thanks for the head’s up!

  2. Alex Iskold

    Great quote Fred. A pleasure to connect you and I hope that good things come out of this!

    1. fredwilson

      Good things have already come of itI like zemanta

    2. fredwilson

      Seems like adaptive blue and zemanta are natural collaborators. Their links can be smart links and your data can help them

  3. kortina

    Another blogging extension I’ve found myself using quite a bit lately is DasbBlog ( https://addons.mozilla.org/… ). It scrapes videos off of any page you’re viewing and grabs images, text, or even screenshots (kind of like Jing). I actually just used it last night to blog a few Ted Talks, which I was able to do while continuing to watch the videos. This extension makes wordpress blogging a lot simpler, easier, and more like Tumblr blogging. I would recommend anyone who digs Zemanta check it out.On a slightly unrelated note to ff extensions, but more on the topic of tools like Zemanta, one of the best UI experiences I can remember is writing a note on Facebook, mentioning a friend’s name, like Mike, in the body of my note, and seeing the option of tagging the note for Mike before I was even done writing. Absolutely brilliant feature. I’d love to see Zemanta or WordPress add something like this using XFN or even just hyperlinks in general. Parse all of my previous posts and create an index of words to link targets. Eg, say in a previous post I linked “Fred Wilson” to http://avc.blogs.com . If I am writing a new post and the text “Fred Wilson” is in the body, I should get an alert on the side asking me to autolink this text to the same place.

  4. Tobias

    I invite you to stop by in Bratislava, Slovakia (45 minutes from Vienna, Austria), another very fast growing economic zone!

    1. fredwilson

      ThanksI will consider itFred

  5. mndoci

    … and the quality is steadily improved since it first came out. It’s become a key part of my blogging workflow

  6. Eric Marcoullier

    Wait till you meet Bostjan and Ales, then you’ll really love Zemanta. Great companies start with great people.

    1. Scott Rafer

      And, I scooped Eric on the Slovenia trip so far. Chasse and I visited the Zemanta guys for a couple days in April. Great!

  7. Philip

    Zementa is great and I am updating some of my old posts. Looking forward to hearing more about Zementa and Seedcamp at CUTEC in Cambridge, UK, last week. I am not sure that one week of Seedcamp is quite like Y Cominbator but with Saul Klein in the driving seat it will not be far behind. Interestingly he has recruited Seedcamp companies from outside the UK – a pity he did not base it in Cambridge Cluster, UK!

  8. zachlandes

    What a brilliant concept! I will try this out on my blog. Thanks, Fred.

  9. Berislav Lopac

    Fred,As you’re coming over I invite you to Zagreb, Croatia — it’s just an hour’s drive from Ljubljana. Croatia has recently become quite a startup hub in the southeast Europe, with the Web.Start conference last month (we had both Andra┼ż and Reshma as speakers), a number of interesting startups brewing and a lot of plans for the upcoming months.

  10. Poppe

    You can’t visit Europe without coming to Stockholm and Sweden which has a vibrant start-up scene. I’ll send you an email where I’ll be happy to set up meetings with some of the hottest startups, greatest entrepreneurs as well as prominent VC’s.

    1. fredwilson

      Please do. I’d like to spend 3 days there in late june or early julyFred

  11. Bryan Woods

    I used Zemanta on a few posts about two months ago and thought it was at first neat conceptually. The thing they haven’t really figured out and harnessed, though, is that linking and image hosting in blogs is far more political and strategic (even on the lowest level) than their software accounts. Most bloggers I know think very carefully about where they link and what images they hotlink, so to have software make these decisions for you based on keywords seems pretty absurd to me. I’d love to see a Zemanta API that could allow for scripts that would rank suggested links in accordance to Technorati rankings or something like that, though.

    1. Jure Cuhalev

      Bryan, we’re just bringing you what we think that should be in your blog in form of suggestions. Suggestions are then at the border of your blog and it’s up to you to know what’s strategically sensible for your blogging style. We’re not trying to be smarter than the blogger, but to make your life easier by finding things that we think that would help you and bringing it to you in a way that makes inclusion effortless for you.Jure Cuhalev, Zemanta

  12. JPersch

    Hey Fred,When I click Record video comment your etsy ads go into the comment space. Just thought you should know……Update: must have been my browser ;^)

    1. fredwilson

      WhoaI’ll look into thatNot good

      1. fredwilson

        Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

  13. BP

    Zemanta would be much better with the following changes.When selecting image I would prefer to select image icon that lets me specify the image url. (I swapped one easily using html provided).. Further, under preferences, it would be helpful to specify google (or other source) for articles. This would tell the software to derive search term based on text and submit to google. I would then use clipboard to specify “article” to embed.I use as firefox extension with typepad. Thanks for pointing out this useful tool

  14. markslater

    your portfolio companies are still blocked here (twitter) fred. I would hedge a bet that you wont be finding too much innovation in the web services space in the UAE

  15. Cernigoj

    Zemanta is for sure one of the most visible IT companies in Slovenia. Guys are doing a terrific job at promoting them selves and other slovenian companies like Domenca (lead regional online shoping provider via their online stores), ThirdFrameStudios (world leader in combining mobile and web technology), Marand ( their VAS department is a champ!) and heaps more. But of course, promotion without a product is not worth a lot. And zemanta is great with that too!I believe that eastern europe is a region with many ideas, many great individuals and companies and with still a lot of room for smart bussiness ideas and VC movement. In my opinion, eastern europe IT region is hotter then silicon valley. And Slovenia, as a country with highest income per capita in the region, is a perfect place to be in lately with a great overview of regional dimensions and capabilities.

  16. evolvor

    THANKS Fred, Zemenata is AWESOME! First you showed my Disqus and now this, my content has doubled in value to the reader.

  17. josh guttman

    I like the three times mantra.Zemanta is cool. I met Bos in Austin this year and met him and his brother on their last NY trip. Good guys, offering a neat and useful publishing tool, while slightly competitive. I think they have a chance to get good traction among bloggers/micropublishers, though 100% of the links are away from the author.

    1. rahmin

      Hey Josh, great to see this full circle as I met both you and Bos at SXSW and now I’m chipping in as the US-based BD guy for Zemanta. Hope things are treating you well at Sphere/AOLWe’d love to hear more of your thoughts on the micropublisher side.

  18. Tom

    Try http://www.iloggo.com, also Europen company. I have meet the founder on LinkedIn and they planned to move company to US…and start looking for VC here. They have very interested business model.Tom

  19. Nathan Snell

    From seeing a few of your posts using Zemanta, it looks interesting. The first thing that pops out to me, however, is that it’s killing your Google Reader excerpt with the “Image via Wikipedia”. Nothing huge, but I frequently check out the quick excerpt to quickly decipher posts.

    1. fredwilson

      Hmm. Gotta investigate thatThanks for telling me about itFred

  20. amitaviv

    Hi Fred,I won’t claim to have a comprehensive product such as Zemanta, but I think my product (a FireFox extension) is doing a better job in linking. The link suggestions are in context, you get top search results for each suggestion and not just links from selected sites, and you can select any text and use the same linking method (not only the software suggestions – which admittedly are sometimes lame)You can download it here: http://kaalga.comIt would be great to hear what you think

    1. fredwilson

      ThanksI’ll give it a look