“Referral marketing” startup Extole is announcing that it has raised $5 million in new funding.
Founded in 2009, Extole announced the appointment of new CEO Matt Roche back in April. Since then, the company has also brought on Mark Cyster as CTO and Chris Duskin as vice president of marketing — like Roche, they were formerly executives at Offermatica (which was acquired by Adobe).
Roche said that when he joined, Extole offered a broad suite of “advocacy” products, i.e. tools to encourage fans to promote a company or product. Under his lead, however, the company has “doubled down” on a specific part of its business, namely referral marketing, while dropping everything else.
In other words, Roche wants Extole to be the platform that companies use to launch “recommend us to your friend and get a reward!” campaigns on their websites and on mobile. For example, if you go to the website of clothing startup American Giant, Extole is providing the underlying technology for the “refer and get $15 off” offers on the home page and on the listings for individual products. Roche said the campaigns are completely customizable and that Extole also offers analytics so that companies can monitor and optimize them.
Roche plans to make the platform available to everyone early next year, but it started bringing on beta customers over the summer, and there are now 35 companies using it. In the case of American Giant, Extole says it’s driving 10 percent of the company’s e-commerce transactions.
“This is an actual enterprise channel,” Roche said. “We are no longer in research mode, we are in exploitation mode.”
The new funding comes from Norwest Venture Partners, Shasta Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Trident Capital. When I asked if Roche had always planned to raise more money at this time, Roche laughed and said, “Sometimes, plans force themselves upon you.”