Investors seem to love BrightEdge's approach to search engine marketing. The company raised $42.8 million in its fourth funding round. Insight Venture Partners led the latest, joining existing investors Intel Capital, Battery Ventures, Altos Ventures and Illuminate Ventures. The round brings total investments to about $65 million.
BrightEdge Founder Jim Yu said the company -- which works with 6,000 brands and 600 direct clients -- capitalizes on data to help clients like 3M, Microsoft, Nike, and Performics make better business decisions. He believes that data from social, search and mobile helps pinpoint opportunities to connect brands with consumers.
Technology requirements for search marketers continue to change. The next generation of tech requires the ability for marketers to connect the dots between creating and delivering content and results through data, Yu said. The company's S3 platform visualizes collected data in custom dashboards, and the engine indexes information from Web sites, search engines, and social media, bringing back the content to produce an aggregated view.
An enormous amount of digital data has been created in the past two years, from people clicking on a Facebook thumbs-up to sharing data. Yu said the next step for BrightEdge will be mining deeper insights from recommendations. Today, the S3 platform allows marketers to report on performance and find opportunities on mobile, but in the future it will generate and provide more recommendations.
As a private company, Yu declined to discuss the company's profitability. "We're very pleased with the financial performance and investor interest," he said. "We spent about $10 million to get to a more than $20 million run rate. We grew our brand count 300% year-on-year in 2012."
BrightEdge has defined the market with dozens of innovations, and issued patents for Share of Voice to help marketers understand true market share and beat their competitors online, and a Reverse Index which helps marketers understand their Web performance. An additional 26 patents are pending.