Salsify snags $8M to digitize and distribute product content for manufacturers

In the e-commerce era, as product update cycles accelerate so does the need to update manuals, price lists, documentation and other product data created by manufacturers. That’s a big problem Boston-based Salsify is attacking with its new product content management offering. And now Salsify, founded by former  execs from Endeca(s orcl) now part of Oracle, has $8 million in Series A funding to staff up for that quest.

This market is huge and ripe for disruption, said Michael Skok, partner with North Bridge Venture Partners, which, along with Matrix Partners, is providing the Series A funding. Companies now churn out product manuals, price lists, guides and promotional materials, often different versions of the same information for different audiences. Salsify can automate that process. “It’s a classic Boston company, unsexy but incredibly important,” Skok said.

David Skok, partner at Matrix Partners (and Michael Skok’s brother) said Salsify addresses a key gap for e-commerce players. “The key to getting individuals to purchase on an e-commerce site is really good product descriptions, images, videos, etc.,” he said via email.

“However for manufacturers and e-commerce vendors managing that product information is a huge headache. Salsify aims to create an on-line network that allows both sides, (manufacturers and e-commerce vendors), to share and collaborate on that information, cutting out manual processes, and speeding time to market. We believe that the market for this capability is huge.”

Product content management is one focus of the company and product syndication is another, said Rob Gonzalez, who co-founded the company with Jason Purcell who is CEO, another Endeca alum. If you’re a manufacturer wanting to sell stuff via Walmart(s wmt) or Amazon(s amzn), there are very strict requirements on how you submit product data — set numbers of fields and if you screw that up there are penalties, Gonzalez told me. Salsify’s SaaS service will take care of that for you.

Competitors include Hybris, now owned by SAP(s sap), Unica and Sterling Commerce now both part of IBM(s ibm), and Oracle’s ATG.(s orcl) Thomson Reuters(s tri) is a legacy player here with all its product and industry directories.

Photo courtesy of  Flickr user Dvortygirl