Extole, a startup offering tools for brands to manage their “social advocacy” programs, has raised $7.5 million in new funding.
The round is a follow-on to the $10 million Series C that Extole raised about a year ago, and it comes from existing investors, including Shasta Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and Trident Capital. The company has now raised a total of $29.9 million.
Extole allows businesses to find the best advocates in their customer base and offer them rewards to promote the company to their friends on social networks — in other words, it gives companies a way to build word-of-mouth. I asked a spokesperson how Extole compares to the competition, specifically Zuberance, and they responded:
Zuberance uses the concept of the Net Promoter Score to identify brand advocates to get them to post reviews on social sites.
Extole helps brand identify customer advocates across all owned assets: website, ecommerce site, social channels and email and offers incentivized programs to get them to spread Word of Mouth recommendations directly with their friends. We get a significantly larger % of customers spreading the word and driving traffic and conversions.
Back in June, Extole launched a new version of its platform that added “social expressions” from Facebook’s Open Graph — so for example, thanks to Extole, visitors to TastingRoom.com can post updates on Facebook about different types of wine for sale, saying they “want it,” “tried it,” or “recommend” it. The company also plans to launch a new product in the first half of 2013.
Extole says that its new customers include eHarmony, Spotify, Cache, Seventh Generation and HSN Improvements.
“Social media marketing is going through a fundamental transition,” said Jim Barnett, a partner at Shasta and chairman of Extole’s board of directors, in the press release. “Marketers are shifting their focus from simply measuring social activity to driving measurable marketing ROI. The power of word of mouth is critical to this shift, and we believe that Extole’s approach to social advocacy uniquely positions the company to drive the next wave of innovation in social marketing.”
Launch always-on social referral programs to drive highly qualified new customers and sales. Extole social referrals enable brands to identify social advocates, reward advocates for promoting the brand to their friends, and optimize referral conversions with robust offers.
Shasta Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on companies in the consumer Internet, mobile and software sectors. Shasta was formed in 2004 to back brilliant entrepreneurs with an unwavering commitment to the customer experience. Located in Menlo Park, California, Shasta Ventures has $725 million dollars under management across three funds. Shasta Ventures has backed startups including Apptio, Lithium, Mint, Nest, Smule, Spiceworks, TaskRabbit, Turn, Zenprise and Zuora.