Gigya Raises $11 Million For Two-Pronged Widget Strategy

Gigya has raised $11 million in a Series C round led by DAG Ventures and joined by all existing investors, including Benchmark Capital, First Round Capital, and Mayfield Fund. The round brings the Israeli startup’s total funding to about $23.5M, an amount raised over the two plus years since its founding in summer 2006.

The money will fuel two main widget services: Wildfire, which helps widget makers distribute their wares, and Socialize, a Google Friend connect competitor that adds social networking features to any website.

Gigya currently monetizes only its Wildfire service, and it does so through the use of branded widgets that get offered to consumers after they add non-branded widgets to their profile pages and blogs. While President Rooly Eliezerov says the company has plans to monetize Socialize a few quarters from now (through sponsored news feed items and other advertising-related means), it is currently focused on distributing the technology as widely as possible for free. The company has been working with big brands and media companies such as Fox Searchlight, which has integrated Socialize into its official Choke website.

Eliezerov says that, eventually, he expects Socialize to become about ten times the value of the Wildfire widget network since many websites (small and large) will become connected to social networks over the next couple of years.

Currently, Socialize exchanges data with both MySpace and Facebook. The former only allows outbound data requests, such pulling in user information and friend lists. The latter allows both outbound requests and inbound ones, such sending back messages and news feed items. Gigya Socialize will hook up to more social networks as they open up. It will also include more functionality for Facebook and MySpace once they loosen up their terms of service.