Social commenting platform Livefyre has raised $15 million in funding led by U.S. Venture Partners (USVP) and included existing investors Greycroft Partners, Cue Ball, HillsVen Group, and ff Venture Capital. This brings the startup’s total funding to $21 million.
Livefyre’s commenting system, which we recently switched over to here at TechCrunch, originally launched back in 2009. Users can post comments in real-time in a more discussion-like format. The platform also integrates social logins from Facebook and Twitter, and you can embed websites, YouTube videos, Flickr images, and other media in the comment stream. Users can also like share or reply to conversations.
The company says that its network of content sites using its commenting system reaches more than 120 million people and delivers over 1 billion live content streams every month with 10 million registered users commenting.
And Livefyre has expanded beyond just a commenting system for blogs and websites. Livefyre also offers a live-blogging tool product, and a full features, brand-focused commenting platform called StreamHub. Beyond the liveblogging and commenting platform, StreamHub provides the ability for brands to live chat, and create custom applications. A Curate feature allows companies to add live content from elsewhere on the social web to their sites. So you could embed a live stream of tweets to a web page, and you could also set up a number of rules around the stream — if you only want photos, or if you only want tweets from within a certain geographic area.
It’s this set of comprehensive offerings, says Founder and CEO Jordan Kretchmer, that is helping differentiate Livefyre from Facebook Comments and Disqus. “We aim to be a whole community platform, and comments feed into this. We’ve come up with ways for people to interact besides comments and we see comments as to be one piece of puzzle. We want to offer the full stack,” he tells us in an interview.
As for the funding, Kretchmer says that it will be used to accelerate product development. Livefyre will soon be expanding the product line more into mobile, as there are huge opportunities in this market. Two of Livefyre’s customers, Bravo TV and Showtime, have built-in the commenting system to their second screen experiences. The startup will specifically be expanding functionality available in mobile SDKs, native app development and more.
Additionally, Livefyre has created a Labs group and will be dedicating more resources to some of the experimental products.
Another big feature in the works is new moderation and quality control systems, that makes the automatic filtering of content easier for moderators.
“Livefyre is exactly the sort of Social Media opportunity we love ,” said Paul Matteucci, General Partner at USVP in a release. “The Livefyre team has built a unique and flexible platform that addresses the needs of an impressive set of customers, who want to interact directly with the communities they build for their brands and content. By focusing on their customers’ requirements Livefyre is driving long-term revenue growth, while leading the next iteration of the social web.”
Besides TechCrunch, other Livefyre clients include FOX Entertainment, The New York Times, CBS, The Daily Beast, FOX News, AOL and NBC Universal. In fact, the company says that Fox Entertainment experienced a 10x increase
in engagement around comments and social shares. American Idol saw a 20x increase in engagement for their season finale using Livefyre to drive live conversations and social aggregation.
Commenting is still a competitive space, and companies like Disqus are trying to innovate at a rapid pace. But Kretchmer doesn’t seem too worried. The company hit its revenue and bookings goal last year and is expected to double that this year.