The tech world was abuzz when Buddy Media, a provider of software that helps brands manage their social media presence, announced it had raised $54 million in its latest round of financing. The company earned a valuation of $500 million, with total funding at about $90 million.
This latest funding round – led by GGV Capital, Institutional Venture Partners, Bay Partners, and new investor Insight Venture Partners – nearly doubled the $28 million the company raised last fall, which included $5 million from agency network WPP.
Since its launch in 2007, Buddy Media has primarily been known for its Facebook platform, through which brands can create, customize, and track consumer engagement on Facebook pages across different languages. The company also offers a platform for Twitter.
Buddy Media has experienced a surge in growth over the past year, adding about 200 new customers in 2011, including Ford Motor Company, Hanes, Hearst Corporation and Virgin Mobile. Its revenue has doubled since the end of 2010; in July, it opened European headquarters in London; and employee headcount has increased from 40 in 2009 to almost 200. Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow said the new funds will be used to double the company's staff and expand in Europe.
While its rapid expansion points to a promising future for Buddy Media, the software provider faces competition from many other social media marketing companies, such as Involver, the tool used by Facebook's internal marketing team. But all that competition can only mean more - and hopefully better - resources for brands as they continue to navigate the social media landscape.