Buddy Media Raises $54 Million as Business Embraces Social
Startup Plans to Double Staff, Acquire Companies and Open New Offices
Among the fast-growing clutch of startups closely tied to Facebook, 4-year-old Buddy Media is one of the biggest -- and it's about to get a lot bigger.
The New York-based company just closed a $54 million series D round of funding led by GGV Capital, a venture firm focused on the U.S. and China with investments in Pandora and Alibaba Group.
Buddy Media plans to use the new investment to double its current staff count of 200, acquire other startups and open new offices worldwide. The company created a European headquarters in London this past July. Along with the new investment, the company also named Medialink CEO Michael Kassan as a special adviser.
Companies and ad agencies license Buddy Media's software to manage their brand's Facebook page, a fast-growing industry that now sees at least 90 preferred developers listed on the social network's site.
Buddy has been looking to expand its business beyond Facebook and this past May bought Spinback, a startup that measures how social networks, from Facebook to Twitter to other sites, drive a company's e-commerce sales.
"More than anything, we have a vision for everything going social, and now that our software is on Facebook and Twitter, it's a wide open space for us," chief executive Michael Lazerow said.
While Facebook has already converted over 750 million people to send messages and announce updates within the network, Mr. Lazerow thinks social networks will soon alter business processes in general.
"I've been saying for the past six months that the last three years has been about the consumer side for social, and the next three years will be about enterprise; how it affects businesses," he said.
Buddy has been profitable for several quarters, according to Mr. Lazerow, with revenues doubling this year. At the same time, the company is clearly in a late-stage of development, and this large investment suggests the company will soon be ripe for an acquisition or some other exit.
"I don't know if there will be buyers or a potential IPO -- all of those are out there, but we're just focused on building a business," he said.
Along with GGV, Institutional Venture Partners, Bay Partners and Insight Venture Partners participated in the recent funding. Other backers include WPP, Softbank Capital, Greycroft Partners, Facebook board member Peter Thiel and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus.