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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Gannett cozies up to Cozi, buys big stake in ex Microsofties’ venture

Cozi, a Seattle producer of family management software and services, is announcing today that it received a major strategic investor.

Gannett, the McLean, Va.-based media giant and publisher of USA Today, bought a minority stake in the privately held Pioneer Square startup.

The size of the deal wasn’t disclosed, but Cozi Chief Executive Robbie Cape said it’s “significant.” For context, he said the company has raised $15 million, and Gannett will be its largest single investor.

Cape and Jan Miksovsky, both veterans of the Microsoft Money team, launched Cozi in 2006.

Although it’s building software, Cozi has always been in the media business, selling sponsorships and ads on its PC software that can serve as a sort of household management console. The company has also made previous deals with publishers such as Meridith’s Parents magazine, under which they promote the site and also resell some of Cozi’s ad space.

A series of big partnerships has helped Cozi grow to serve 600,000 people, up from 380,000 in December.

Gannett and Cozi “will collaborate on product innovations that tap into Gannett’s deep local content, information and calendar data,” the release said.

So it sounds like Cozi’s going to incorporate local event listings from Gannett papers to power the new calendar features it’s planning to release later this year. Cozi must be taking advice from board member Jeremy Jaech, whose previous venture — the Trumba calendar and event listings service — made some of its biggest gains through deals with newspapers.

Gannett will also take a seat on Cozi’s board and promote the brand and product across its media outlets, which include 85 daily newspapers, 23 television stations and Web sites reaching about 16 percent of the U.S. Internet audience.

But the big question is whether Gannett will encourage Cozi to use more colorful infographics.

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