Press Room


JANUARY 31th, 2018

Canada’s 1st Student VC Fund, Front Row Ventures, Makes Its First Investment in Pelcro, a Startup Aiming to Change the Face of Online Publishing.

Front Row Ventures is thrilled to announce its investment in Pelcro. This is FRV’s first investment since launching its $600,000 fund in September 2017. Pelcro is solving the challenge of steeply decreasing advertising revenue for online publications. Their product helps publishers monetize their biggest fans through subscription instead of advertising.

“Our mission is to solve the content monetization problem by providing publishers with the necessary tools to meet ad-blocking trends and the increasing user demand for an ad-free experience and premium content,” said Andrew Morris, COO at Pelcro and recent McGill graduate. Pelcro uses its content paywall and subscription-management platform, powered by machine learning, to persuade readers to subscribe to an ad-free, premium experience or turn off their ad-blocker. Providing users with options allows the publisher to recover the 30 percent of ad revenue lost to ad-blockers.

Pelcro was introduced to FRV by the McGill X-1 Accelerator. “This is one of the top companies we’ve seen out of McGill to date. Pelcro could become the operating system behind an industry transition to subscription revenue, and we’re glad to support them on the way there,” said Makoto Rheault-Kihara, Partner at Front Row Ventures and lead on the deal. “For us, this investment validates FRV’s thesis that student entrepreneurs can bring a fresh vision to even the oldest industries. We believe young minds are in a prime position to bring the next wave of disruption to many industries,” said Éléonore Jarry-Ferron, Co-Founder at Front Row Ventures.

Google and Facebook’s growing duopoly over online advertising (49 percent of advertising revenues worldwide; 72 percent in the USA in 2016) and the rapid rise of ad-blockers has caused a decline of over 50 percent of newspaper advertising revenue over the past 10 years, despite a 37 percent increase in online traffic since 2014. “We believe the advertising revenue model is increasingly unsustainable for most publications, and that the industry will go through a gradual transition to subscription-based revenue. Most publications aren’t prepared for this transition, opening up a considerable market opportunity for the central platform supporting the move to subscription revenue,” said Michael Ghattas, CEO at Pelcro.

With a total addressable market that encompasses most of online media, a strong network effect, and a team with solid technical and business skills, Pelcro is well positioned to facilitate this industry transition. The $25,000 injected by Front Row Ventures will give Pelcro the runway needed to close its first major publishers and caliber its business model.

About Front Row Ventures

Front Row Ventures is the first student-run venture capital fund entirely managed by students in Canada. Launched in September 2017 in partnership with Real Ventures, Front Row Ventures will invest 600 000$ over the next four years in 24 student startups. The first resource for student founders of technology-powered startups, Front Row Ventures is settling in Montreal before expanding to the rest of Canada.

About Pelcro

Pelcro is a subscription management platform that provides publishers with tools and data to drive subscription revenue from their audience. Pelcro’s data-driven platform is affordable and easy to integrate. It empowers content creators to provide subscribers with premium content and the best user experience.

Press Contacts

Nicolas Synnott

[email protected]
+1 514 998 4980

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