Ex-Reuters Exec Azhar Building Business News Aggregator

Digital investor and former Reuters (NYSE: TRI) innovation head Azeem Azhar is alpha-testing Viewsflow, a new service he’s launching to deliver socially-powered business news and opinion.

Viewsflow first sneaked out in September and October, to aggregate what Azhar calls the “econo-blogosphere“: “well-known and must-read columnists and bloggers, as well as lesser known, but equally relevant content contributed by up-and-coming phenoms”.

We are building a platform to identify the best people and the best content in business and economic domains,” Azhar tells paidContent:UK. “The plan which we are executing on is for this platform to scan what people actually do (through their digital footprints, eg. Twitter recommending). We also do some linguistic analysis to eliminate non-business-related content.

“Once we have this, we can expose it in different ways. One way is to have an expertly driven curation site. Our second is our daily mail-out. Our third is a wide variety of Twitter channels, which have more postings than the daily mail-out.”

One’s minded to think of it as a Last.fm for business commentary – the “views” you’re presented with are derived, algorithmically, from your preferred sources and from those of your friends. There’s also a clear Twitter influence – users can “follow” the on-site commentators they like most…

Individual brands like The Economist already command businessfolk’s attention and respect but, in theory, there’s plenty of opportunity for a service curating multiple such sources intelligently in an age of proliferation.

But what’s the business model here? Azhar cites “specific services for media companies and professional publishers and brands who want this expert curated content to enrich their offerings. There is also something for media companies to help them understand the real impact/value of what they published.”

He says he’s interested in “how we can help media companies as an intermediation layer; or help bloggers monetise their own expertise” – but details are so far as non-specific as any alpha-stage operation.

A former Economist business correspondent himself who has also invested in outfits like IPTV firm Inuk, Azhar is now CEO of Viewsflow, for which he’s raised money from unnamed “private investors with backgrounds in internet, hedge funds and newspaper publishing“.

The team of four developers, one publisher and two freelancers numbers one who helped build Twitter’s data mining tools and one who developed for Strategy Eye, says Azhar.