Thinglink, the product tagging startup founded by design blogger Ulla-Maaria Engeström (wife of Jaiku co-founder Jyri Engestrom, who is also an adviser), has raised $1 million in seed funding from Nordic investors Inventure and Lifeline Ventures. The new funds will be used to develop an in-image advertising network for brands, retailers and other product advertisers, says the company.
Thinglink started life by defining a new standard for identifying both virtual and physical objects and linking them to information on the Internet, and then evolved into a sort of social catalogue that enabled designers, brands, and consumers to identify and converse around products. Today the company is pitching itself as a tool for online publishers who want to add interactive images (via special tags) to their content.
The idea is that a blogger or website can use Thinglink to make the objects in their images clickable and to drive traffic from these images to e-commerce sites and other destinations. And presumably, that’s where the new ad network, with today’s investment, comes into play.
On that note, Thinglink has added realtime statistics for publishers so that they can track the views, hovers and clicks on their tagged images. Existing brands using Thinglink include the Scandinavian media house Aller, The Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE (Wenzel’s Antique Road Show), and interior design brand Artek.
Another interesting tidbit related to the startup is the hire of Nokia’s Janne Jalkanen as its CTO, which we reported back in April of this year. Jalkanen was an 8 year veteran at Nokia where he earned the unofficial title of the Godfather of NFC because of his leading role in developing the burgeoning wireless technology. How that fits into Thinglink’s pending ad network isn’t clear, but it’s no doubt one to watch.