JS-Kit, the Silicon Valley company that makes it easy for bloggers to add comments, polls, product reviews or ratings system to their websites, has gotten a boost when it most needs it.
It has raised $3.6 million in a second round of funding led by Altos Ventures, right when the climate for getting such capital is turning harsh. With the market turning downward and venture investors renewing their focus on profitability, many widget companies aren’t likely to get funding. Making money on widgets has proved harder than many people realized, and scrutiny of these companies will only grow now that the advertising industry is likely headed into downturn. JS-Kit already had venture backing, so it is one of the lucky ones. TEF3, which invested $1.2 million last year, also participated in this round.
Notably, JS-Kit’s chief executive Khris Loux said he got the funding by being featured at TheFunded, a web site that lets entrepreneurs rate venture capitalists, but which has since started to offer a range of other services. JS-Kit used the site’s feature called “TheFunded Connect,” where companies looking for funding can call upon their entrepreneur friends and ask to be introduced to investors. TheFunded Connect makes a company fill out a form, and then entrepreneur friends can look at the pitch and decide whether to recommend the company.
JS-Kit prides itself on the simplicity of its product. To add a comment, poll or rating widget to their site, bloggers simply copy a few lines of HTML and then paste those into their websites. JS-Kit faces stiff competition from multiple places. In comments, for example, there are many players such as Discus and Intense Debate. (See screen shot of JK-Kit comment widget below.)
The company says its widgets are distributed across 550,000 registered sites, including AOL, Evite, JetBlue, and Sun Microsystems.
Loux has just posted a blog about the round.