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Jellyvision raises $20 million after a long, strange pivot

Jellyvision, a Chicago-based maker of an employee communications platform called ALEX, today announced that it has raised $20 million in growth equity funding from Updata Partners. Existing shareholders include Jackson Square Ventures.

PR pros, take notice: Not only did the related press release try to be funny, it succeeded. Highlights:

  • Jellyvision is a 100-year-old tech company, give or take 85 years.
  • Following the tragic death of the CD-ROM software market, the company pivoted.

Ugh, pivot? Don't worry, that overused phrase is legit this time. Jellyvision began life as an educational software company that quickly morphed into the gaming company responsible for such late 90s hits as You Don't Know Jack and the CD-ROM version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

The visual and writing creatives teams stuck together and turned into a project-based marketing agency whose output often reflected the "question and response" aspects of its games. Eventually a client asked for help explaining healthcare plans to employees, which led to the current ALEX SaaS platform ― whose 800 enterprise customers include more than 80 in the Fortune 500.

Bottom line: "We ride on top of or next to the enrollment platform, so we're not really competing against them." ― Jellyvision CMO Bob Armour, who adds that the company is cash-flow positive.

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