(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
NewsUp, the Baltimore startup that makes a platform for news quizzes, closed a $500,000 equity round, the company’s founders said.
The funding round was led by the McLane Group, a holding company for a variety of ventures including tech, food and government IT that was formed by former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, Jr.
McLane sold the family grocery distribution business to Walmart in 1990. The McLane Group continues to invest in small businesses.
McLane’s son, Denton McLane, said the family was introduced to NewsUp through mutual acquaintances. They decided to invest because the startup is a “unique idea that deserves a push onto a larger stage,” he said. McLane also pointed to a strong “similarity of culture” between the two companies.
“As a group we value honesty, integrity and hard work,” McLane said.
With quizzes that test how well users know subjects from Iran to Paul Rudd, NewsUp aims to make the news fun and approachable, while still informative. The startup recently unveiled a redesign of its current events quiz site, and added a points system so players can keep track of how they stack up.
— NewsUp (@newsuptweets) July 21, 2015
The financing comes as the company prepares to offer its current events quizzes on iOS and Android apps. NewsUp also plans to expand its team in the coming months.
“With the upcoming release of our mobile applications, we’re going to provide our community with a truly world-class news experience,” said NewsUp CEO Andrew Schuster. “McLane Group brings a wealth of knowledge and a proven track record to our team. We’re thrilled to work with them in fulfilling our mission to inform the world.”
NewsUp launched in 2012, and was a member of the first class of the Emerging Technology Centers’ AccelerateBaltimore program. The company is now based out of ETC’s Highlandtown campus.
The latest funding follows a separate $500,000 round that the company closed in the fall. Investors in that round included Under Armour CFO Brad Dickerson, Millennial Media cofounder Chris Brandenburg and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg.