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Trading News Site Gets $1.5M From Groupon Founders

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(credit: istock) Technology Report
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A Bingham Farms-based media Web site that generates trading ideas has received new venture funding from the founders of Chicago-based Groupon.

The $1.5 million investment came from Lightbank, the technology investment fund started by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell.

Benzinga is a fast-growing media source that delivers streaming news, trading ideas, original commentary and analyst ratings. It will use its new resources to add personnel and fund initiatives to accommodate its increasing readership demands, including media technology tools and exclusive company access.

“We thought we could create a better way for investors and traders to use the news to get trading ideas,” said Jason Raznick, who founded Benzinga LLC last year. “We don’t just say, ‘go buy Cisco.’ We say, ‘If Greece is in financial crisis, here are some trading ideas that flow out of that.’ Or ‘If Barack Obama is going to talk about solar in his State of the Union speech, here are some solar companies that may benefit.'”

The company’s Web site, at www.benzinga.com, offers streaming text news, “instant rumors,” analyst ratings, up to the second audio news, research, calendars and technical breakouts.

Raznick said Benzinga’s 20 employees constantly monitor everything from Twitter streams to other social media to TV news channels to track news that moves the markets. The company also competes with larger financial news outlets like Bloomberg by concentrating on smaller companies, Raznick said.

“A lot of places, a lot of outlets, create news,” Raznick said. “We try to take the news one step farther, giving the news, and how you can trade off it.”

“Benzinga is an aggressive company that has adhered to a high standard of quality and professionalism. Its quick growth demonstrates real future potential,” said Lightbank’s Keywell. “Jason Raznick and his team have a vision to be the leader in financial media with real-time news, deep factual information and powerful commentary, all in one place. We’re pleased to support Benzinga in its efforts with one of our largest-ever initial investments.”

“While we’ve experienced positive cash flow from year one, it was clear we needed additional support to reach our next level of success,” Raznick said. “Lightbank realized the potential of what we’re trying to do. They understand our vision. We’ve accomplished a lot in a short period of time — but with Lightbank’s participation, we’ll be able to expand much more quickly.” Raznick maintains close ties with major media organizations and is a frequent guest on national television and radio stations.

Raznick said the company makes money by selling subscriptions, syndicating content out to partners and advertising on the site

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