MashLogic, a browser tool that gives users contextual information about content on websites (since publisher-driven links often don’t do the job), is coming out of beta this morning. And they’re announcing a second seed round of financing – $500,000 from high profile investors SoftTech VC, Scott Kurnit (About.com founder), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn founder) and Gil Penchina (Wikia CEO). Kurnit also joins the board of directors of the company.
Bessemer Venture Partners is incubating the startup and put in most of the original $900,000 in seed money. The company has raised a total of $1.4 million to date and works out of the Bessemer offices.
We first wrote about MashLogic in October 2008 when it went into private beta:
MashLogic is a more direct approach. Users must download a Firefox plugin to use it, but there’s no toolbar. Instead, you simply change the settings to tell it what kind of information you’d like to have included on web pages. Links to Wikipedia is an easy one. But it also has company links to LinkedIn to show you people there you might know. And a currency converter. Etc. It’s like a frickin Swiss Army Knife for hyperlinks.
One setting I like – the ability to remove all links on a page, and then only MashLogic links appear. For a lot of sites, the user experience is vastly superior. You can also create blacklists of domains that won’t show up in links on the page, even if the original publisher put them there.
Once you’ve got the tool configured, smart links will start popping up all over the place. Professional Athletes get their playing stats, Politicians get a real time poll of their progress towards the White House. Currencies are *zap* converted. You can even see a map for any street address.
Their goal is to save you from having to go back to the search engine to find the next thing you’re intersted in but isn’t linked on the site.
The site has evolved since October. It’s now available for Internet Explorer in addition to Firefox. Also, any topic trending up on Twitter is highlighted and linked (at the user option), with additional information on who’s tweeting about that topic. And if a Twitter username appears in the text of a web page (as they do in our comments), clicking on it brings up a box with that Twitter users information. Users can also post to their Twitter accounts. Here’s how it looks:
MashLogic works with publishers to create slightly customized versions of the product that pull information from that publisher first. Users can customize away from those changes, but most don’t. We’ve been distributing a version of MashLogic since last October and it drives a fair amount of traffic to us from people seeing TechCrunch and CrunchBase content “linked” from around the web.
It’s one of the few products I’ve tried that I’ve stuck with over these last months. It definitely makes browsing and research easier. Try it, I think you’ll like it.
Here’s an interview I did today with founder/VP Ranjit Padmanabhan. After I butcher his name we see how it all works: