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Jul. 12, 2012 10:30 am

Rumble: news content distribution platform presents at Philly Tech Meetup

Can Rumble save the print news business? The social reading platform hopes to allure both the publishing industry and its consumers, said founder Al Azoulay at yesterday’s monthly Philly Tech Meetup at the University City Science Center’s Quorum space. For media, Rumble offers a mobile platform. Don’t bother with the tech side of things, the […]

Rumble's Al Azoulay shows his media reader's interface.

Can Rumble save the print news business?

The social reading platform hopes to allure both the publishing industry and its consumers, said founder Al Azoulay at yesterday’s monthly Philly Tech Meetup at the University City Science Center’s Quorum space.

For media, Rumble offers a mobile platform. Don’t bother with the tech side of things, the company says. It’ll do that for you, free of cost. The platform will deliver content to readers so publishers can focus on creating content.

For the consumers, Rumble curates news feeds in a sleek and social interface.

The Flipboard comparisons are inevitable, so here’s how Rumble is different, says Azoulay: You’ve got complete control of what’s in your “Rumble channel.” You can choose the topics and the news sources that interest you.

Social engagement is expanded, too. You can comment on articles and share them with your friends, and you’re not restricted to Twitter-length commentary.

Azoulay says Rumble has nearly reached its goal of 15,000 users two weeks after launch. The startup is about to close a round of venture capital and angel funding, he says.

Rumble currently has nine employees: two work in Philly and the rest work in the company’s R&D office in Israel.

Azoulay is from Israel but has lived in Philly for the past five years. He says he loves it here. He lives in Northern Liberties.

Two other startups demo-ed at the meetup: SocialLadder and SilverLine Athletics.

SocialLadder, according to presenter Raavi Iqbal, wants to play matchmaker between influential consumers and businesses.

It’s essentially a daily deals site mashed up with the ratings system of Klout (SocialLadder uses its own algorithm to calculate user ratings).

Influential or “desirable” consumers, those with lots of Facebook friends or Twitter followers, can be extremely valuable to businesses, Iqbal says. His app allows merchants to offer deals to influential SocialLadder users.

An algorithm calculates a user’s score, and the app allows you to see what has affected your score.

As Iqbal put it: “Lose two friends on Facebook? Lose five points.” (Ouch.)

It’s up to the merchant to capitalize on the relationships to these “desirables,” Iqbal said. If you take advantage of a free drink at a bar through SocialLadder, the app doesn’t require you to publicize anything on your social networks.

“We don’t want to create an artificial economy,” Iqbal said.

SilverLine Athletics, presented by founders Jayme Goldberg and Holden Comeau, is a video engagement platform for the endurance sports world (we’re talking triathlons, marathons, that kind of thing).

Hoping to capitalize on the low-tech nature of the endurance sports and the wild popularity of videos, SilverLine Athletics is for event organizers to communicate with event participants. It’s also for professional athletes to promote their sponsors.

Organizers can brand their channels and share useful videos, like a course preview or a rundown of what activities families can do during an event.

The platform is in beta, Goldenberg says. The pair recently quit their jobs to pursue SilverLine full time. Comeau is also a professional triathlete.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technically Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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