Photo: Courtesy of Klout
For months we’ve been hearing about Klout’s big new funding round. Klout gives users social influence scores based on their online activity. It was founded in 2008 by Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran.One source tells us that while the Series C deal closed in September, Klout’s funding announcement will be made this month. The site is actually down right now, another sign that it’s prepping for something big (update: now it’s back).
We’ve spoken with a few people close to the company. Here’s what they say will likely be announced:
- Back in October we spoke to a source who was “90% certain” that Klout raised ~$30 million at a ~ $200 million valuation. Another source confirms that those numbers are “fairly accurate.”
- Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer is leading the Series C. Kleiner also led the $8.5 million Series B round with Greycroft Partners.
- Chi-Hua Chien, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, has joined Klout’s board.
- Other firms involved in the Series C round include new investors Venrock and IVP. Previous investors ff Venture Capital and Betterworks founder Paige Craig are also involved.
The round is a little controversial. Klout’s revenue is scarce although a business model is starting to take shape with the “Klout perks” feature. Scores have been called phony, especially because Robert Scoble ranks higher than president Obama.
But investors say Klout is creating a big social media advertising opportunity and they think Klout scores could become the online version of credit scores. The founders remain confident too.
“I knew that [Klout] was a powerful thing that was going to exist in the world somehow, and if I wasn’t the one who did it, I would hate myself,” cofounder Joe Fernandez said in a recent interview. “I’ve had these ruthless blog posts written about the company and referencing me, and I’ll just go in the comments and say, ‘Hey, I’m Joe from Klout. Thanks for checking out what we’re doing. We appreciate your feedback.'”
As much as people complain about Klout, it is an addictive product. It’s hard not to care about your score or wonder why your colleague’s is five points higher than yours (damn you, Steve Kovach).
Also, we hear it’s ridiculously fun to work at Klout. The office is apparently huge and awesome with drinking festivities on Fridays. Parties involve posing with a life-size cut out of Justin Bieber (he has a perfect 100 Klout score).
We’ve reached out to Klout for comment and will keep you posted when the official funding announcement is made.
UPDATE: Klout’s corporate blog now confirms the Series C financing round and notes that Kleiner Perkins led it with participation from Institutional Venture Partners, Venrock, Greycroft and ff Venture Capital. Klout also confirmed that Chi-Hua Chien from Kleiner joined the board of directors.