Marin Software plans to announce Monday that it has secured $30 million in venture capital funding from Temasek, an investment company in Asia, and SAP Ventures, the VC arm of German-based SAP AG.
Marin plans to invest the new capital in product development, customer support and international expansion. Temasek, an Asian investment company headquartered in Singapore, secures investments through a sovereign-wealth fund secured by approximately $193 billion in assets. Temasek primarily invests in companies that can advance emerging markets, such as China, India, and Brazil.
In 2012, China will become the second-largest paid-search market worldwide in terms of dollars spent --eclipsing the UK -- but the level of adoption and sophistication in which online campaigns are constructed and managed are a few years behind the U.S. market, according to Chris Lien, Marin founder and CEO. "Asia is growing quickly and will become a very important market in the next several years," he said.
Engines such as Baidu need to outgrow the need to fill the first page of search results with paid ads. Finding the natural search results requires a scroll or two down the page. Marketers believe that change could come with age. China remains about three to four years behind the U.S. market when it comes to search engine marketing.
As for the funding, it should help Marin develop better support for international markets throughout Asia -- specifically China. The investment from Temasek -- one of the largest investors in these markets -- comes with the ability to tap potential local employees, partner relationships and customers.
Marin's product road map will look past support for Baidu and Yahoo Japan, adding a foundation for engines and languages other than simplified Mandarin, Japanese, France and German.
When asked about Marin's exit strategy as the company grows and takes on complicated enterprise-level search and social marketing support, Lien said it could make sense at some point for a business software company like SAP or Oracle to acquire a company such as Marin. "At some point in the future, we could take the company public," he said.
Joining the new investors in this oversubscribed round were existing investors Benchmark Capital, Crosslink Capital, DAG Ventures, and Triangle Peak Partners. Frank van Veenendaal, president of worldwide sales and services at salesforce.com, also joins Marin's board of directors. The well-supported enterprise companies add to more than $80 million secured in venture funding.