GigaOM, By Mathew Ingram Jan. 10, 2011
As social media becomes more mainstream, many companies - especially marketers and advertisers - are desperately trying to figure out how to measure social influence online, apart from simply counting the number of Twitter followers a person has. Klout is one of the services trying to help them do that, and it just got some powerful help of its own: the San Francisco-based startup announced early Monday that it has closed an $8.5-million funding round from Silicon Valley powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, and is adding Kleiner partner Bing Gordon to its board of directors.
Klout started out focusing on Twitter, after founder and CEO Joe Fernandez had jaw surgery and spent his recovery posting on the social network and trying to figure out who to follow. The company has since added Facebook activity and LinkedIn content to its database, and is looking to add other social networks and activity as well. "People are really starting to understand the importance of influence on the social web," Fernandez said in an email. "Obviously getting someone like KP to lead the round is some validation of that, but more importantly you can see it in the fact that we are working with companies like Virgin America, Disney, Fox, Audi and many others."