TLists, a New York-based company that specializes in a web-based application for grouping and sorting Twitter users into related groups, announced yesterday it has raised $3.5 million from a collection of known investors. The company, now running as Sulia, is among a growing number of startups that have built businesses off Twitter. TLists was originally developed as a tool for web publishers and Twitter clients but with the growing popularity of Twitter lists the company has shifted focus to become a publisher and build a business based on ad revenue.
Rebranding itself as a media company, Sulia will cater real-time streams or “channels” of relevant messages from a variety of sources. The Sulia crawler fishes through more than half a million Twitter lists to filter content from trusted sources. The company has already partnered with publications like The Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, and now plans to further develop the service to better build, measure and distribute Twitter lists. As of this writing both Tlists and Sulia websites are running in tandem, with the latter indeed bearing close resemblance to an online news publication. Visitors can browse the website by section and drill down into subtopics to get up-to-minute Tweets on any topic of interest. The website even dubs itself “The Interest Network”. Trending topics are featured prominently with updates from as many as 300 experts on current events like net neutrality and Wikileaks.