(Updated to reflect comment from ShareThis)
Publishing platform ShareThis has raised $23M in Series C financing, the company announced Wednesday.
The round was led by T-Venture, the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom, along with new investors Harbourton and corporate funds represented by West Capital Advisors. Existing investors Blue Chip Venture Company, DFJ, Illinois Ventures, Matthew Pritzker Company, Mercury Fund and RPM Ventures. In addition, Bernhard Gold of T-Venture will be joining the company’s Board of Directors. With this Series C round, ShareThis has brought its total funding to $54 million.
The company says that it plans to use the new money it has raised for product development and market expansion, specifically to European markets like Germany and the United Kingdom, Kurt Abrahamson, CEO of ShareThis, told VatorNews. The company recently expanded to Canada as well.
ShareThis will also be using the money it raised to purchase Socialize, a platform that allows developers to instantly add social features to their apps. Socialize’s social solutions have been integrated into hundreds of iOS and Android apps, which have been installed on more than 67 million devices.
By purchasing Socialize, ShareThis will be able to extend its reach to the mobile app ecosystem, allowing it to gain better insights into how users engage and influence each other. Publishers will also be able to use ShareThis to get specific sharing analytics on desktop and mobile in a single dashboard. Both publishers and app developers will benefit from enhanced ways to optimize and monetize their apps.
"We get a company that is innovative and cutting edge in the social sharing space," Abrahamson said. "What Socialize does is turn the lights on in apps."
In return, Socialize gets the ear of the major advertisers that ShareThis works with, as well as a larger growing platform.
"There was a cultural connection between the two companies," said Abrahamson. "It was a natural fit."
"ShareThis is seeing significant traffic come from users with mobile devices, and wanted to establish a strong leadership position by offering a rich suite of social tools in the mobile space. Socialize provides that expertise and technology," Daniel Odio, CEO of Socialize, told VatorNews.
"Socialize saw an opportunity to join a leader in the social space, with the same values around the power of social to transform the way people engage, share, and interact with content. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up! Together we'll be able to create a holistic view of users across multiple types of devices, from desktop to mobile, which is the holy grail from an advertising and social perspective."
Palo Alto-based ShareThis creates “social sharing” buttons that are scattered across the web to make sharing content across the social media simpler and easier. The company provides analytics, which help publishers increase their social presense, and advertisers to reach the right users.
"We power the social web," Abrahamson said.
What separates ShareThis from its competitors, he said, is its data and reach. ShareThis currently reaches 200 million US internet users across more than 2 million publisher sites and over 120 social media channels. Some of the advertisers it works with include Best Buy, Microsoft, Disney and American Express. It works with publishers that include the Food Network and New York Magazine.
There is also the way the company measures the effectiveness of a publisher's social engagement. The company measures social quality of online content (SQI), by comparing the social quality of a website against the ShareThis Publisher Network. It evaluates social metrics include outbound shares, inbound clickback traffic and page views to calculate the audience engagement of a site. ShareThis then scores a publishers sharing and engagement from 1 to 200.
Abrahamson calls the SQI process "extremely unique."
In 2012, ShareThis saw its revenue increase by 155%, and while Abrahamson does not believe that it will see such a high increase in 2013, he does expect another significant increase this year.
(Image source: http://danielodio.com)