Understand more, faster

Why Lightspeed is leading a $10.9M Series A in Particle

Today, Lightspeed is announcing that we’re leading a $10.9M Series A in Particle, the company that’s on a mission to help everyone understand more about the world faster through AI, starting with the news. We at Lightspeed are proud to support founders Sara Beykpour & Marcel Molina and the Particle team on this next phase of their journey alongside investors like Kindred Ventures, Adverb Ventures, Ev Williams (Twitter co-founder), Scott Belsky (Adobe CSO), as well as Axel Springer – a leading global publisher and parent to Insider, Politico, Protocol, among numerous other media brands. 

The news is broken

The news experience is increasingly broken for nearly all stakeholders. Misaligned incentives between publishers and readers often leads to a low quality and untrustworthy content experience. Stories are redundant among publishers and duplicated across countless broken and ad-littered websites that few want to visit. And no outlet delivers a personalized experience of high quality news tailored to a reader’s interests; instead, traditional publishers deliver stories against their editorial strategy in chronological order. All of this leads to a poor product experience, lower willingness to pay from customers, and a worse overall business for everyone involved.

AI can help

At the same time, AI is actively reorganizing the way people consume information on the internet. LLMs can quickly synthesize large amounts of information and share only the most important parts. They can strip out biases. They can fact check. They can personalize vast content experiences down to an individual level to ensure every experience is tailored to a reader’s interests. They can even answer specific questions about content, almost as if a reader had the ability to ask a journalist specific questions. And AI also has the power to eliminate layers of operational inefficiency, ensuring more of the value in media goes to the people who matter most. In the case of the news, that’s the people who write the stories (the journalists) and the people who consume them (the readers).

This is the exact vision of Particle. Sara and Marcel imagine a world in which Particle becomes the go-to destination people visit to be quickly yet deeply educated about any topic or story – with a highly personalized, efficient, and interactive experience, powered by amazing journalists. This starts with news and all of the content that supports it, but can expand to any category of media over time. 

The team that built the social internet

The story of Particle began nearly 15 years ago, when the team’s founders were building some of the internet’s most foundational social media products and services. Nearly every time there was a new product innovation in social media, Particle’s CEO Sara Beykpour was there, playing an early and often founding role on teams like Twitter, Vine, Periscope, and Secret. And CTO Marcel Molina was one of Twitter’s earliest and most foundational engineers, contributing to features like Retweets and ultimately the platform services team, responsible for core systems like the Timeline service. After working closely together at Twitter, they both discovered the power of LLMs and became determined to join forces and reinvent news and media using these new AI superpowers. 

The product they’ve built in the short time since is already nothing short of exceptional. Particle finds the stories across all the news of the day that matter most to each individual user through best-in-class machine learning and personalization. Then, it leverages LLMs to deliver the most efficient, unbiased, and truthful version of these stories. Users can then ask questions of the AI to drill further down in the story and better understand exactly what they want to know. And all of this is delivered to the user in either text format or audio, which is generated dynamically using AI – sort of like a personal podcast for every single user. It’s a magical experience that “just works” and makes you wonder why you ever consumed news any other way beforehand.

Join the Particle beta today

And of course…Sara, Marcel, and the whole Particle team are just getting started. News is just the beginning; the Particle experience will likely extend to other media categories, as well, making it far more enjoyable for anyone to make sense of all of the content each one of us is bombarded with every single day. If you want to help them build this future, the Particle team is hiring. And head over to Particle to join the app waitlist ahead of our official launch.

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