Gigya brings in $11M to grow widget services

Widget distribution network Gigya raked in $11 million in third round funding to continue building out two existing products of its own called Wildfire and Socialize.

They serve different but related purposes: Wildfire provides a platform for other widget developers to post and share their creations with a broader audience, while Socialize provides any website with the tools it needs to incorporate social networking features (things like a newsfeed that tracks friend activity, and a panel for sharing interesting content).

Even though Wildfire already serves 1,000 widget makers and is bringing in some revenue by circulating branded widgets from big names like Disney and Kimberly-Clark, Gigya predicts that Socialize will soon surpass it in value as more sites join the social-networking fray. Already, the app is able to aggregate friend data from sites like Facebook and MySpace, giving it an edge over competitor Google Friend Connect, which has not yet landed the support of the two networking giants. Socialize is also unique in that its open API allows sites to engineer their own social networking features to meet their specific needs, whereas Google’s service offers only pre-made plug and play features.

Notably, Gigya’s chief rival, San Francisco-based Widgetbox Inc., has been ahead in the valuation game — it’s unclear whether Gigya has caught up in this round. After Widgetbox’s second round of financing in January, it had an estimated $61.9 million value. Gigya was valued at $26 million after its last round in March, according to VCExperts.com. Interestingly, Gigya receives more “company friendly” money (as opposed to “investor friendly” money) than Widgetbox. In other words, its funding comes with more flexible terms, and will be less expensive for the company in the long run, which could give it a significant leg up in the faltering economy.

DAG Ventures led the round, followed by previous investors Benchmark Capital, First Round Capital and the Mayfield Fund. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has raised $23.5M since its inception in 2006.