Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Exclusive: Meebo Raises $25M More

Meebo has nearly completed a $25 million round of funding led by Khosla Ventures, with Khosla partner Gideon Yu becoming a board observer. This is the Web-sharing toolmaker’s Series D round, and will be announced by Khosla in a speech at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this afternoon. Existing backers such as Sequoia Capital and Draper Fisher Jurvetson are also participating in the round, which brings Meebo to total funding of more than $60 million.

Vinod Khosla said in a phone interview that he was particularly interested in Meebo’s plans to make Web sites social through its Meebo Bar, which will soon include ways for users to virtually “check-in” to Web sites. And secondly, he was impressed by the company’s success with brand advertisers.

“I think very few things are so broad that they reach most of the users on the Internet and this is one of those,” Khosla said. (Meebo currently reaches 180 million uniques, double what it had a year ago, so it’s not quite at “most” of the Internet, but it’s growing fast.)

Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg said 87 percent of the company’s advertisers in 2009 returned in 2010, on average doubling their budgets. He said the Meebo Bar has a 1 percent click-through rate.

That relatively high effectiveness is in part because the Meebo Bar is always visible on the pages of its 8,000-plus publisher partners. Sternberg said that by the time users click on the ad, they’ve often spent a good amount of time on the page, so it’s not just an errant click–they’re actually interested in the brand.

The average Meebo user spends 60 seconds with an ad, longer than the canonical television commercial.

Sternberg said Meebo preferred a smaller venture round to the jumbo later-stage deals companies like Yelp, Facebook and Groupon have taken, because he doesn’t want to significantly change the culture of his company. $25 million is the same amount Meebo raised the last time it took funding, in spring 2008.


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