Writer’s automated style guide for anyone writing online brings in $21M A round – TechCrunch
For any company, organization, or even individual writer, maintaining a consistent voice is a constant challenge. Writer is a startup aiming to provide a solution with an intelligent integrated style guide that goes beyond mere error checking. Following a $5 million seed last year, the company has now raised a $21 million A round to continue growing and improving its service.
Founder and CEO May Habib says that writing is “the last unstructured business process,” which is perhaps a bit optimistic (sometimes I think every business process is unstructured) but nevertheless a cogent thesis on which to build a company. Writing is, after all, fundamentally a creative process, and it is only by systematically taming that process that writing is able to be used as a business tool. (Even now I am taming it: must … resist … using em dashes in every sentence.)
It’s one thing to make sure that copy is clean and accurate, quite another to make sure that a dozen writers do not have clashing styles, use inaccurate or inappropriate phrases, and generally stick to a tone and style chosen by leadership. Of course there are style guides — even TechCrunch has one — but anyone who writes for a living knows how difficult it can be to stop and consult one when they’re in the zone.
Writer is meant to be a sort of style guide angel that sits on your shoulder and keeps your writing in line while you’re writing. It plugs into Chrome and Word, among other platforms, and instantly catches you out on everything from typos to company tone. Basically, Habib explained, you “take these 80-, 90-page guidelines and turn it into a web app that becomes the single source of truth.” Notably this is all done without using a client company’s content as training data, so there’s no risk of HIPAA or security violations that way.
That helps not just keep copy clean but also makes sure companies are taking action on things like, for example, inclusive language. A company may not have considered it worth formalizing in its style guide how to use gender-neutral language, or how to refer to various groups in the preferred manner, but it’s built into Writer if you want it — just check a few boxes and now all your company’s copy will be written more inclusively in line with recommendations from experts. There are other basic rules users can configure around common items like hyphenation, spacing, date and location formatting, serial commas and so on.
But you knew all this, because you read all about Writer …….