Trada has secured a $9 million Series C funding round from Google Ventures and Foundry Group. The funding will support the continued expansion of the company's paid search, as well as its Facebook advertising marketplace built on the social network's Ads API.
The road map puts Trada on track to reach profitability by the end of 2012. "The business is clearly predictable enough to cross the profitability mark this year," said Niel Robertson, Trada founder and CEO.
While Trada calls itself a "crowdsourced marketplace," it is a search agency that supports each brand campaign with dozens of search and social marketing experts.
The company has been on a fast growth track. Thirty employees at the beginning of the year turned into nearly 100 by December. The company continues to grow and handle larger monthly budgets. During the beginning of 2011, Trada's largest advertiser campaign sat at about $35,000 for the month, growing the budget today to $500,000.
Investors recognize the growth as well. Robertson said "our existing investors were aggressive about the business, and wanted to participate more, so we managed an up-round of funding."
In November, Trada took its paid-search model and adapted it for social marketing, creating what Robertson calls a "crowd-sourced Facebook advertising marketplace" to help advertisers and agencies run campaigns on Facebook.
"Within six months I expect the Facebook marketplace to rival the scale of search," Robertson said. "That's because our average customer in Facebook spends about $25,000 per month, whereas the average customer in search spends about $5,000."
Robertson plans to create a marketplace for search retargeting as well, which puts the company head on with Magnetic. The company also plans to hire graphic designers who can create creative images for ads, as well as expand the marketplace to include graphic-based advertising, beginning with search retargeting. The latest VC investment will help Trada support more clients; in fact, between seven and 10 times more by the end of 2012.
Higher budgets and stronger paid-search and social campaign results mean Trada employees benefit too. In January 2011, the highest salary that a paid-search or Facebook expert earned -- which Trada calls "Optimizers" -- was $4,500 for the month. In December, the top expert earned $14,500.