KickApps, social network builder, raises $11 million

KickApps, which enables publishers to quickly add social network functions to their offerings, has just raised $11 million in its second round of financing.

Thanks to companies like Ning, PeopleAggregator, Me.com, and KickApps, the creation of new social networks has become a commodity, and people are seeing green. Ning recently secured $44 million at a lofty $170 million pre-money valuation. In this bubbly environment, it’s not surprising to see investors looking for more.

While KickApps and Ning are frequently compared, there are significant differences. Ning focuses on social network creation for the masses, where these masses, regardless of programming ability, can launch good-looking, stand-alone social networks of their own. KickApps, based in New York, is aimed at publishers who have developers and want to build “community” functions like profiles, blogs, video and photo sharing into their sites. This makes KickApps more like Five Across, which Cisco recently acquired.

KickApps uses a web-based front end that lets publishers blend the social networking functions into their sites in a matter of days or weeks. By comparison, Five Across’ system is not web-based, currently lacks support for video, and is more complicated to deploy.

KickApps is powering social networks on over 5,000 sites, ranging from major media brands like HBO and Cinemax to off-kilter niche sites like Dee Snyder’s House of Hair.

The company offers its applications and hosting services to publishers for free in exchange for a piece of the incremental ad revenue its services generate, and targets the ads itself. Conversely, companies can pay for a license and place the ads themselves.

Softbank Capital led the round, which included previous investors Spark Capital, Prism VentureWorks and Jarl Mohn. The company had previously raised $7 million.