VigLink Raises $18M to Grow Native Link Exchange

viglinkLink monetization platform VigLink has raised $18 million in Series C funding.

The round was led by RRE Ventures and will go toward building out its new VigLink Exchange, which launched in October, as well as new tools for advertisers. The deal brings VigLink’s total funding to $25.3 million.

San Francisco-based VigLink was founded in 2009 as a provider of automated native ad solutions through links in content. If a blog post mentions a pair of Nike shoes, for example, VigLink’s automated platform will create a link where a user can purchase the shoes. Each conversion creates revenue for the content provider.

Through VigLink Exchange, the company created a real-time marketplace for these potential conversions. In the exchange, that blogger’s Nike mention might mean a shoe store nearby the user is bidding against Amazon for the link to purchase.

Founder and CEO Oliver Roup said the bulk of the investment will go toward tools for advertisers.

The company works with advertisers mostly through affiliate networks and comparison shopping engines, but will focus on solutions to work with them more directly, he said. That includes providing tools such as yield management as well as geographic and demographic targeting.

“If you think of the link as an ad unit, all of the targeting and complexity that is built into the display universe today could conceivably be built into the link universe,” Roup said.

VigLink said it works with 35,000 advertisers including Nike, eBay, Best Buy and Amazon, and more than 300,000 sites including Elle, CNET and Road & Track. Roup said the company has seen revenue double from 2012 to 2013.

Roup said VigLink will add to its staff of 35 as it expands into Europe and the Asia-Pacific region this year.

Also participating in the funding round with RRE Ventures are existing investors Google Ventures, First Round Capital and Emergence Capital.

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