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Eric Greenberg's Wrap Raises $12.7 Million for New Type of Mobile Storytelling

The company hopes to settle the long-running apps-versus-mobile-Web debate by creating something that is the best of both worlds.


The debate of apps versus the mobile Web is a long and frankly tired affair that has raged for years.

Apps are potentially more powerful and sticky, but also costly to develop. Mobile websites are cheaper to make, but hard to make engaging enough to get repeat visits.

San Francisco-based Wrap, which is announcing $12.7 million in new funding on Thursday, thinks it can settle the debate by offering a hybrid format that promises the best of both worlds. The company aims to make creating interactive receipts and tickets, mobile catalogs and other app-like experiences as easy as creating a PowerPoint is today.

 Wrap’s authoring tool aims to make mobile storytelling as easy as making a PowerPoint.
Wrap’s authoring tool aims to make mobile storytelling as easy as making a PowerPoint.

“If you think about how we use the mobile phone, it is ADHD, it is nonlinear, it is a feed,” Wrap founder and CEO Eric Greenberg told Re/code. “What we are endeavoring to build is the user interface that matches how we actually use the phone today.”

The company’s signature format, known as a Wrap, can run in any browser, but feels more like an app or a Flipboard page than a mobile website.

The best way to understand Wrap is to explore a few examples. Here’s one about grilling with chef Guy Fieri, and another from Ancestry on how to tell if you have royal blood. There’s even a Wrap about the company’s own funding.

Speaking of that funding, the Series B round was led by Raine Ventures and Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Media, along with Dream Incubator, FF Angel, Salesforce Ventures and Transmedia Capital and Christopher Crain of Crain Communications. In all, the company has raised nearly $19 million since beginning operations last year.

Greenberg’s aspiration is to see Wraps become a widely used option in e-commerce, publishing and marketing. The company charges businesses that want to use its content-creation tool, an early version of which will be made available later this month at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference. A large company would be charged $10,000, plus $500 for each user beyond 10.

“When you know what companies spend on app development, this is like a gift,” Greenberg said.

He has assembled some top talent at his 35-person company, including Mark Rolston, former head of creative at Frog Design, and former Yahoo executive Peter Foster, who is Wrap’s new chief revenue officer.

For Greenberg, it is a return to the Internet after a rather spectacular rise and fall. Greenberg became a paper billionaire as head of Internet consultancy Scient, but saw nearly all that wealth go away during the dot-com crash. So, is he worried about another crash affecting his latest venture?

Greenberg says there will be a shakeout, but the looming downturn is more likely to affect the companies promising a dog walker on five minutes’ notice, or one of the 37 different apps offering to do your laundry, than it will Wrap, which he says can drive other companies’ sales and save them money.

“What will go away is a lot of not-so-smart angel money that funds kids’ dreams,” Greenberg said. “What won’t go away are really strong business propositions.”

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