Audience Development Startup LinkSmart Raises $5 Million From Foundry And Costanoa

A little less than a year ago, a little company called LinkSmart launched to help publishers use text links to get their readers reading more. Now it has raised $5 million in Series B funding to take its technology for growing audiences and make it more widely available. The financing was led by Foundry Group and Costanoa Venture Partners, which was recently founded by former Sutter Hill Ventures managing director Greg Sands.

LinkSmart was founded by former DailyCandy CEO Pete Sheinbaum, to help publishers grow audiences through in-text links. While web content creators have spent the last several years shoe-horning in all sorts of banners and sidebars and widgets, the actual text of most web pages is where audiences are usually most engaged.

With that in mind, LinkSmart wants to give publishers the tools to better take advantage of that engagement, by providing a smarter way to analyze and link between content that they’ve created. There are three main aspects to its technology: analytics, to show publishers which pages could use more links and which they should link to; management tools to redirect links; and even technology to automatically add links to stories if publishers choose to use it.

As someone who just manually adds links to web content all day, I can see the appeal of a system which would not only reduce my need to do so, but would also make links that are put in more relevant to the article, and would drive more clicks. Getting those clicks to go to relevant pages in the publisher’s site is even more of a plus.

With more money in its coffers, LinkSmart is plans to use the funding to expand headcount in places where publishers live. The company has 18 employees, with its tech team based Boulder, Colo., but it’s looking to hire sales and support people in places like New York, L.A., San Francisco, and Chicago.