Why Klout Cares More about Mobile Than Justin Bieber
BY Courtney Rubin
The social influence measuring start-up raises a reported $30 million. Among its plans: to develop a mobile app.
Justin Bieber performs a medley of songs from his new holiday album at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Social influence measuring service Klout has closed a Series C round of some $30 million according to several unconfirmed reports. The four-year-old company didn't confirm the amount in a blog post announcing the funding.
“We aren’t commenting on the amount raised in the round but it was a significant step up from previous rounds,” CEO and founder Joe Fernandez said in an e-mail to Mashable. The San Francisco-based company measures internet influence from 1 to 100 based off of Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Foursquare activity. Klout measures retweets, likes, and comments to decide how high or low your Klout score is.
The company raised $1.5 million in April 2010 and $8.5 million in January 2011. The $30 million figure–led by Kleiner Perkins, which led the Series B round–would put the company's valuation at about $200 million.
The company's current revenue model relies on Klout Perks, where marketers can target influencers with free stuff.
The new cash infusion "is going to be used to really drive accuracy, transparency and utility,” Fernandez told Mashable. “We want to measure influence every place it exists and make sure Klout users are recognized for their influence every place they go.”
The company also will work on a mobile initiative. “There is definitely a mobile component to our plans and we are excited about having the resources to push forward with that vision,” Fernandez said.
Klout started out focusing on Twitter, after Fernandez had jaw surgery and spent his recovery posting on the social network and trying to figure out who to follow. Facebook came second.
Fernandez wrote on Klout's blog in November: "My goal was and is to create a system that recognizes people for the power of their voices on social media. I see Klout as a great equalizer for the normal person utilizing social media. Every day we are segmented by nearly every company we come into contact with. Usually this is based on how much money we spend; the level of service we receive is determined by the size of our wallets."
And PS, Fernandez doesn't really care about Justin Bieber, despite the Biebs' perfect Klout score.
"We may like his Christmas album, but Justin Bieber is not who Klout was created for. Everyone already knows the Biebs," Fernandez wrote. "We care about John Smith in Des Moines, IA who is passionate about music and wants to share his favorite bands with the world."
Inc. contributing editor COURTNEY RUBIN was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.