When Gravity launched in 2009, it offered some content recommendation products for consumers, but its real goal was to convince publishers to use its “interest graph” technology to deliver a personalized experience for visitors — in other words, to show readers content that they specifically might be interested in based on their activity. Its current partners include CNN (which uses Gravity in the CNN Money iPad app) and TechCrunch (if you’re reading this post on a desktop or laptop computer, you should see our Gravity-powered story recommendations to the right, under “Trending” and “What You Missed”).
Overall, Gravity says it delivers more than 25 million content recommendations each day to more than 200 million users.
As for the new funding, the company says it will use the money to deploy a platform for content marketing (Gravity allows advertisers to place sponsored stories among the recommendations). It also plans to expand its operations in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and to continue growing its publisher network.
The round was led by GRP Partners, with participation from previous backers Redpoint Ventures and August Capital. GRP’s Mark Suster will be joining Gravity’s board of directors.
“[Co-founder and CEO Amit Kapur] and the founders of Gravity built Myspace from its earliest days until it achieved enormous scale and chose to leave at the company’s peak to build something they passionately believed would create a better experience for hundreds of millions of Internet users,” says Suster in the funding press release. “I believe they’ve built it and, given the value Gravity can unlock in any website or application, it represents a huge market opportunity.”
Gravity has now raised $20.6 million.
Update: I asked Kapur for a little more information about the content marketing program. He told me it’s currently in its pilot phase, but he plans to grow it aggressively, and he added:
It’s also an incredible, authentic way to monetize content sites. Consider the behavioral mode a user is in when visiting a content site. They’re there to discover and experience interesting content. They’re not there to see banner ads or click on an AdSense link. Presenting users with great paid content that is a very organic, high quality way to monetize traffic in that mode.