Peter Kafka

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Big-Data Tracker Metamarkets Gets New Money to Back Its Newish CEO

Last year, analytics start-up Metamarkets mulled a purchase offer from Twitter, and ended up raising money instead. Now, investors are pouring more money in, via a $15 million round led by Khosla Ventures.

The three-year-old “big-data” company has now raised some $23 million, and is using the new money to expand into additional business lines.

Metamarkets started out providing data tracking and analytics to digital publishers like AOL, Demand Media and the Financial Times, so they could get a better handle on the value of their ad inventory.

But now it is branching out into other industries where companies generate enormous streams of data, like social media and payment start-ups.

CEO Mike Driscoll won’t disclose the names of his clients in these new categories. But Twitter and Square sure seem like obvious candidates. And it’s worth noting that Foursquare generates an awful lot of data, and Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley has made angel investments in Metamarkets.

It’s also worth noting that Driscoll, who co-founded the company and was its CTO, wasn’t CEO until January. He replaced co-founder David Soloff, who Driscoll says now works as a “close adviser” to the start-up.

My understanding is that the swap is at least partly related to that buyout offer Metamarkets didn’t take. People familiar with the company say that Soloff was interested in taking the deal, while his backers wanted him to build a bigger company — and generate a bigger return on their investment.

Driscoll won’t comment on the story behind the change. But he notes that the new funding makes it clear that “Metamarkets is not interested in going out for a small amount of dollars anytime soon.”

“I think too many people in Silicon Valley are shortsighted,” he says. “This is a huge space, and the opportunity is massive.”

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/sommthink)

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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google