Content discovery and sharing tool Shareaholic announced today that it has closed an oversubscribed round of Series A funding, a total of $3 million led by Kepha Partners with participation from General Catalyst Partners, NextView Ventures, 500 Startups, and several angel investors. The Cambridge, MA-based company, which originally launched in 2008 and raised seed funding in November 2011, has a network of over 200,000 content publishers, and now reaches 270 million people around the world every month.
The company’s goal is to change the way people read, discover and share content on the web. They have a network of browser extensions (for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera and a bookmarklet), that let users share and save links with their social networks, and tools for publishers that allow them to provide content recommendations and sharing options on their own sites. The company also gives publishers an analytics dashboard to track the reach of their content, and provides an API to developers.
Founder Jay Meattle said the new funding will go to hiring and building out additional solutions for publishers. While the company started in 2008, it was really only a side project back then, a Firefox browser plug-in that won the Mozilla Foundation’s Extend Firefox contest. When the plug-in passed one million downloads Meattle decided to focus on it full-time. Despite taking their first injection of capital only eight months ago, Meattle said the time was right to take more funding. ”We closed our last round in November, and it’s been an insane six months for us,” Meattle said. “We weren’t looking to raise additional capital, it just happened that we found the right match in Kepha.”
Meattle said that the company’s target user is “anyone who has a website,” though content publishers seem to be the largest audience. “Our browser extensions continue to grow really nicely,” he said. “Someone who would install a dedicated plug-in to help them share content are usually content producers themselves. Publisher tools are a really natural progression for us.” The Shareaholic browser add-ons, publisher tools and APIs are all free, and Meattle said that they’re focused on distribution and growing their user base, and will focus on monetization down the road.
Companies like AddThis (acquired by Clearspring) and ShareThis already offer popular content sharing plug-ins for publishers, and startups like Sailthru are trying to tackle on-site content recommendations. Mettle said they’re unique because they offer a suite of products, rather than just approaching one piece of the content discovery puzzle. ”We’ve taken an integrated approach to providing solutions vs. tools,” said Meattle about the competition. “There’s no other company that I know of that is taking an integrated solutions approach, and that’s what really sets us apart.”
Meattle said data is really core to what they do, and that they are “building an interest graph and a social graph.” While he said they haven’t even considered other things to do with that data, it stands to reason that they could shop that data around to advertisers and retailers as a way of monetizing the site. Because while their tools to help content producers are clearly taking off, they’ll need more than just a network of active publishers to make the company a success.