Ross Simmonds, a mainstay of the online marketing community in Halifax, has launched a tool to help individuals and companies find the content they need to reach a broader community.

Best known for his consulting and blogging work, Simmonds opened Crate for public use last week, and the rapid growth in the first week has him considering whether to raise funding to help grow the business.

“There are a lot of gaps missing from content marketing,” said Simmonds in an interview.

“People focus too much on distribution and not enough on creating high-quality content.”

What Crate does is allow users to quickly search for content they can distribute on social media, thus finding new contacts and increasing their network.

The product is simple — the user simply enters an email address at and starts by creating a “crate” for online content. The user enters keywords, email addresses or Twitter handles that could locate content. Every time the user opens the crate, it contains the latest content adhering to the search so it can be shared on social media.

Simmonds has funded the product through revenue from his two-and-a-half-year-old consulting business, whose clients include such successful Atlantic Canadian startups as Proposify, LeadSift, Introhive and The Rounds.

Read the Latest on Simmonds' Client The Rounds 

“Consulting has been smooth sailing, but I’ve always wanted to get back into products,” he said.

Simmonds and his chief technology officer, David Fudge, tested the waters with Crate this year with a two-month test, which included 150 users. The feedback was positive so, after a bit of tinkering with the software, he launched last week.

As of Friday, 825 people were using the product and created more than 1,000 crates. There had been 8,000 click-throughs of the content distributed using Crate.

Crate is free. Simmonds plans to add pay features as its customer base grows.

It is one of two businesses Simmonds has launched recently. He and his friend, Findlay Hilchie, started Hustle & Grind, a business that celebrates entrepreneurship and features an e-commerce site that sells coffee to business people. The company is achieving sales, both of coffee and posters related to entrepreneurship.

The launch of these companies is the latest chapter in Simmonds’s fascinating entrepreneurial story that began with a love of fantasy football. When Simmonds was a sophomore at Saint Mary’s University, he began a blog on fantasy football that was so successful he was soon being interviewed about it by American sports reporters. But when his grades began to suffer, his mother put the kibosh on the fantasy blog and told her son to focus on academics.

Simmonds' Client Introhive Rasies Money

When he graduated, he began producing content again, this time on the theme of content marketing. After stints with the CBC and the marketing firm Colour, he began consulting and working with private clients on using content and social media to increase their customer base.

Simmonds said his one abiding passion is entrepreneurship. He and Findlay have decided to ask all Hustle & Grind subscribers to vote for a group that encourages youth or minorities to become entrepreneurs, and the company will donate 10 per cent of its profits to the winner.

“I’ve maintained my focus on content marketing and entrepreneurship — those are both key passions of mine. I believe entrepreneurship is how you can escape a bad situation in life.”