ClearSpring Raises $20M To Grow Big Social Data Offerings

May 10, 2011

8:00 am

We are moving into an era of “big data” as we all share articles, photos, videos, tweets, status updates and more multiple times a day on a number of social platforms from Facebook to Twitter and more. McLean, Virginia based ClearSpring has spent the last three years building a platform that tracks data across many of these social web experiences and then bundles this behavioral tracking data into anonymous aggregates as the Audience Platform. On track to triple revenues this year, the company now reaches over one billion unique users monthly across nine million sites, and today, ClearSpring has announced another round of funding worth $20 million lead by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), accompanied by existing investors, which brings their total funding to almost $60 million.

IVP joins Clearspring’s list of investors which include New Enterprise Associates, Novak Biddle Venture Partners, former AOL vice chair and president Ted Leonsis, AOL founder Steve Case, Capital One co-founder Nigel Morris, and Silicon Valley super-angel Ron Conway.

I spoke with ClearSpring Co-founder and CEO, Hooman Radfar, to find out a little more about plans for the additional funding. According to Radfar, the funding will be used for three main focuses:

Publishing Tools
ClearSpring acquired AddThis back in 2008 and turned it into one of the most prominent sharing utilities out there. The data generated by AddThis offers an interesting look at what’s hot and trending on the Web and around the world (we’ve highlighted the hottest shared stories previously). With the additional funding, ClearSpring is looking to improve the analytics and utility of AddThis by creating and acquiring products that will help accent the current offerings and improve the overall publisher toolset.

Doubling Down on Advertising
Serving as a data provider to help advertisers understand what consumers are doing on the Web, ClearSpring looks to continue to offer additional options for advertisers to leverage. The goal is to offer the right advertisement at the right time and ClearSpring’s Audience Platform will help give a better picture of what consumers are doing online.

With it’s main headquarters in McLean, Virginia, ClearSpring is looking to invest in it’s employees, the facilities and benefits that make ClearSpring a great place to work. The technology space is extremely competitive when it comes to acquiring and maintaining talent, so ClearSpring plans to use some of it’s funding to stay competitive when it comes to attracting top candidates. In addition, ClearSpring has been opening offices in Chicago, LA, Detroit and New York and is hiring in all locations.

Aside from those three main areas, ClearSpring is focused on handling “big data” in real-time and in order to do so, has created a proprietary system that handles both batch and real-time commands, in upwards of 10TB of data a day. This data presents new opportunities, and according to Radfar, “…we’re interested in acquiring companies that are doing interesting things with data, or have the capability to do so. We’re also interested in analytics – companies that are processing data to bring value to advertisers and publishers.”  So, in the coming months, we’ll keep our eye on ClearSpring for interesting acquisitions, for talent and technology, as well as the rollout of new publisher tools. And remember, they’re hiring.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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