Livefyre is announcing that it has raised $47 million in new funding.
That number includes a $15 million addition to the company’s Series C — founder and CEO Jordan Kretchmer told me that the company didn’t bother to announce that “opportunistic” funding separately, because it was quickly followed by a $32 million Series D.
Livefyre was originally known as a commenting platform (we used it for a while at TechCrunch), but it’s been expanding beyond that with moves like the acquisition of social curation startup Storify and the launch of Livefyre Studio, which basically allows publishers to gather user generated content from anywhere online, and to republish it anywhere in turn.
(For example, here’s a Livefyre Studio-powered page highlighting content from Unilever’s sustainability initiative Project Sunlight.)
Kretchmer said there’s been a “phenomenal” response to Studio since it launched four months ago, and the company will continue to grow the platform with more “codeless applications.” He suggested that Livefyre now revolves around user-generated content, which can include content created on the publisher’s site (which is where commenting still plays a role), as well as content pulled from social media and elsewhere on the web.
Livefyre sees the UGC process as falling into four broad steps — collect, manage, design and deliver. Its strength right now is more on the collect and manage side, Kretchmer said, so you can expect future products to expand on design and deliver. In other words, Livefyre should allow marketers to take user-generated content and present it in customizable ways on their own site “without having to call my IT department, without having to even run it through the typical channels of QA.”
Livefyre’s strength on the content side attracted both Adobe and Salesforce Ventures to invest in the Series D, Kretchmer said. He suggested that both companies are building out their own “marketing clouds,” and they see UGC as a crucial, missing piece. The investment could lead to Livefyre integration with Adobe and Salesfroce, but Kretchmer said it’s too early to know exactly how that will play out.
He also said that this is the first time the two companies have invested together. I pointed out that Adobe and Salesforce have largely built out their marketing platforms with acquisitions — was that ever a possibility here?
“I can’t talk about any M&A discussions in general, but from our perspective, it was all about getting these two guys involved so it can accelerate our business,” Kretchmer said. “Beyond that, the discussions weren’t anything we were interested in. But for them, the question was, ‘What do we do to help Livefyre be successful?'”
Other investors in the new funding include Cue Ball, Greycroft Partners, Hillsven Capital and US Venture Partners. The company has now raised a total of $67.3 million, and its 1,500 customers include AOL (which owns TechCrunch), Conde Nast, Sony PlayStation and Universal Music Group.