Lijit continues to rock as it is now reporting that is has raised an additional $7.1M in venture funding from The Foundry Group, Boulder Ventures, and High Country Venture. This brings Lijit’s total funding to around $11M (it raised angel money and 3.3M previously) . Lijit will use the money to to launch their search powered ad network.
To me, Lijit is a great example of a company that “got the right people on the bus” and then “listened”. It started life as OutFoxed, which I covered here in mid-2006. The company quickly morphed the product from a plug-in which enhanced search results with social context to one which helped publishers to become the focal point of search, allowing them to expose a search box (like you see on ColoradoStartups.com) which leveraged the trusted network of the individual publisher to return more relevant results to the searcher.
Over time, Lijit developed the idea of “re-search”, which allowed publishers to intelligently include lijit-based search results as readers moved across enabled sites and pages. Here’s an example of what this functionality looks like:
As you can see, anyone who has searched for “colorado startups outfoxed” using Lijit and was led to my content gets to automagically see other content that is in my trusted network that might be related. The magic of this is that it tends to increase page views for me and those that I choose to include in my network.
More page views tend to be good for publishers, especially when more capability for the reader is being provided. Dave Taylor is a good example – he’s reporting that the re-search functionality on his popular AskDaveTaylor site is generating about 150,000 extra impressions each day.
The next challenge for Lijit is to build out the ad network which will allow targeted ads to be placed in these search results. This will allow publishers to monetize these extra impressions simply and effectively.
Congrats to Todd, Micah, Tara and the gang at Lijit on this next step in their evolution. It’s great to see VC money continuing to be deployed widely here in Boulder.