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A modern news reader app interface displayed on a smartphone and tablet, showcasing AI-powered news summaries from various sources. The background includes logos of Particle and Reuters, set in a professional workspace with charts and handshake symbols, symbolizing funding and collaboration. The image conveys themes of innovation, technology, and partnership in the news industry

Author: Alicia Shapiro

Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes

Particle Raises $10.9M and Partners with Reuters to Transform News

In a bid to address declining web traffic and newsroom layoffs, news reader startup Particle is stepping up with an innovative solution. Founded by former Twitter engineers, Particle uses AI to summarize news from various sources, offering readers a well-rounded perspective on stories. The company aims to develop a business model that benefits both readers and publishers in the AI-driven news landscape.

On Monday, Particle announced its partnership with Reuters to explore new business models. This collaboration includes a subscription to Reuters' newswire, which enhances Particle's ability to provide comprehensive coverage of current events.

Particle has also raised $10.9 million in Series A funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with additional investment from Axel Springer, the media company behind brands like Business Insider and Politico. These partnerships and investments highlight Particle's commitment to working collaboratively with publishers to create mutually beneficial solutions.

While focusing on publishers’ needs is essential, it does not guarantee success. Other ventures, like Post News and Artifact, have faced challenges despite their innovative approaches. Post News, backed by a16z, experimented with micropayments but eventually shut down. Artifact, created by Instagram's co-founders, recently exited to Yahoo after attempting to personalize and summarize news using AI.

Unlike other news apps, Particle prevents users from getting stuck in "filter bubbles" by showing multiple viewpoints on a story. Instead of highlighting individual articles, Particle compiles stories from various sources, reducing content duplication and offering readers a more nuanced understanding of the news.

Particle employs a mix of AI technologies, including GPT-4, to summarize news. Currently, the app selects sources from a wide range of publishers, but this approach may evolve as the platform develops.

Previous attempts to tackle media bias and information overload have had mixed results. Google engineers created an app called Brief, which used human editors to summarize news but didn’t incorporate AI. Similarly, SmartNews launched a feature to show articles from across the political spectrum, but it wasn't a major driver of downloads.

Particle's business model is still being developed. We want to collaborate with publishers to create a new model, Beykpour stated, noting that all options, including revenue sharing and advertising, are on the table.

With the Series A funding, Lightspeed’s Michael Mignano has joined Particle's board.

The company is using the new funds to hire for key roles, including a backend engineer, SRE, community and editorial lead, and media partnerships lead.

Currently in private beta testing on iOS’s Testflight, Particle plans to expand its support to web and Android platforms in the future.