RootsRated Media, a content marketing company that started and grew in Chattanooga over the past six years, is moving to Atlanta after shifting its primary business model and raising another $6.5 million in venture capital.
The company was one of the most successful to capitalize on Chattanooga as an outdoor-oriented city, initially with reviews of outdoor attractions across the country and later by developing marketing content and strategies for outdoor apparel and other businesses.
Founder and CEO Fynn Glover said the company has been supported and nurtured in Chattanooga but is now in the process of relocating its 40- employee staff — and preparing to double its employee count over the next 18 months — in Alanta where there is more access to talent, capital and connections.
"Chattanooga has been an incredible city from which to launch RootsRated Media," Glover said. "As we've expanded our vision and grown our team, we've become convinced that Atlanta is the right home for the company for its next phase of growth. We're currently looking for a number of people in engineering, sales, marketing and customer success."
RootsRated previously raised $3 million in capital in 2015 and announced last month it had secured a second round of investments led by early stage technology investor TechOperators, an Atlanta venture fund which is putting $3.5 million into the company, along with $3 million of other funds from Fidelis Capital, Alerion Ventures, and other investors.
The financing will be used to expand the company's sales and marketing efforts, as well as accelerate product development and expansion into new verticals.
"One of the biggest problems for small businesses is creating, distributing, and measuring content that fuels meaningful customer experiences," said Dave Gould, general partner at TechOperators who is joining the board of RootsRated. "Small- and medium-size business marketers need a done-for-you content marketing solution that simplifies content marketing. We're big believers in tech-enabled services for lean marketing teams."
Glover said content powers the customer experience, making effective story telling, messaging and videos across a number of platforms key for attracting customers and building business.
RootsRated initially built its content marketing stronghold on its ratings of outdoor places from local experts in nearly three dozen cities, along with reviews and photos posted by its readers.
"We are NOT another website full of crowd-sourced trail reviews," the company says on its web site. "We harness the collective expertise of high-level local runners, skiers, riders, paddlers, and climbers. Then we share it through exclusive stories and destination reviews— curated city by city — about the best trails, runs, routes, crags, and more."
RootsRated evolved its business model to capitalize on the more lucrative paid marketing side of the business to aid small- and medium-size business clients produce content and messages for social media and other outlets. RootsRated Media offers its partners a content marketing platform and supporting services that allow businesses to rely upon RootsRated to source, distribute, and measure content through itsCompass platform and suite of tech-enabled services, rather than for the client to employ its own marketing department and staff.
RootsRated has focused operations in two initial verticals: the outdoor apparel vertical, and the destination marketing vertical. RootsRated clients include Osprey Packs, Rentskis.com, Utah Office of Tourism, and the Alanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, among others.
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