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Circa news app brings breaking news to followers

CEO Matt Galligan believes that Circa has a speed advantage over other news sites and apps delivering breaking news content, and less noise than Twitter.

Circa CEO Matt Galligan at the Launch conference in San Francisco on October 1.
Dan Farber

Galligan maintains that Circa's editors are performing a different function than editors at sites that basically refactor a story from a single source with a link back to the original work. "We identify the core facts across multiple sources, and write them up," Galligan said. "We don't rewrite any one story. If a story is from a single source or exclusive, we acknowledge that in the point."

Circa also tries to play it down the middle. "We keep tone and opinion out of it. The readers have a right to be informed, not influenced. We are the brief, but we want to be able to send people in the right direction," Galligan said during an interview Tuesday at the Launch conference. However, the new version of Circa includes links to other sources, offering opinion and analysis, that its editors deem worthy to expand the story.

It's unclear at this point whether Circa is catching on with news junkies, or if synthesizing chunks of stories from other sources can turn mobile users away from Twitter, Flipboard, and other aggregators. Galligan would not share the number of active users or app downloads, but allowed that half of Circa users come to the app twice day, and 50 percent of users stay active on the app after three months.

So far, Circa is building its audience and hasn't address monetization, but the company is considering native advertising and display ads, as well as a premium version of the service. The startup has received about $1.7 million in angel funding.