Exclusive – Ranker has secured a $1.3 million Series A round of funding led by Tim Draper at Draper Associates. Other investors who are backing the list making service include Rincon Venture Partners, Newport Coast Investments, Factual founder Gil Elbaz, Pasadena Angels and previous investor Siemer Venture Capital.
Ranker is a consumer web services that utilizes the concept of lists to harness ‘the wisdom of crowds’ to provide credible answers to questions, like “what are the best beers from around the world?” It also provides its own original, non-crowd-ranked lists, like “what are the 13 craziest objects ever found inside people?”.
Visitors can vote on or rank topics with various levels of engagement, and Ranker’s technology aggregates this interest graph data into so-called CrowdRankings such as The Best TV Shows and, evidently, The Hottest Celebrities.
Ranker utilizes semantic, linked datasets to power this ‘connected list-making’ for users across a wide variety of topics, and has partnered with Freebase, Factual, and other sources of big data to pull that off. The site originally launched in August 2009 and currently boasts some 1.6 million monthly unique visitors (March 2011).
Ranker plans to use the proceeds from the financing round to staff up and continue development on adding more datasets and porting the ranking technology to other platforms and sites. I hope some of it goes to a thorough redesign of the site as well.
Ranker had earlier secured $1.8 million in two seed funding rounds, with participation from numerous angels as well as Ranker founder and CEO Clark Benson.
One of Benson’s prior startups, eCrush, whose primary property is teen social network eSpin, was acquired by Hearst Magazines Digital Media in 2006.