Digitally extolling the virtues of a brand to your friend these days brings more rewards than just a contented heart.

Referrals can mean discounts and other rewards for both of you, and today referral marketer Extole announced it has landed $14 million in a Series C round to help more friends help more friends.

CEO Matt Roche pointed to one client company, international clothing retailer Boden, as a good example of what his company does.

“We worked with them to create a referral program with multiple campaigns for their customers,” he told VentureBeat. A click on “recommend us to a friend” on the Boden site generates a unique referral link to share. If a friend uses that link to make a first purchase, they land a 20 percent discount, and you get a $15 coupon.

“You’re not limited to earning a reward just once,” he said. “The more new customers you refer, the more rewards you get.” The company said that six million customers have used its platform and that they have made over 15 million referrals.

In a blog post about the new funding, Stacey Bishop from lead investor Scale Venture Partners pointed to the leverage of referrals. “Thirty-nine percent of marketers use referral regularly,” he wrote, “and 43 percent of these acquire more than 35 percent of new customers through referral.”

Extole will invest the new funding, which brings the total raised to $19 million so far, into three areas, Roche told us — marketing, sales, and international growth. Additionally, it will expand the core platform and predictive modeling engine.

Roche said his San Francisco-based company has two kinds of competitors.

One provides a “basic, one-size-fits-all, web-only referral widget with little to no strategic support,” he said, putting FriendBuy in that category.

By contrast, he said, Extole’s customers “want a referral experience that reflects their brand, is integrated with their customer experience, [and] that expects higher results.”

He characterized the other group of competitors, such as Ambassador and Impact Radius, as being “focused on driving leads from affiliates and partner programs.” Extole, he said, focuses “on participation from actual customers which in turn drives acquisition of better customers.”

This funding round was led by Scale Venture Partners with participation from Norwest Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Shasta Ventures, and Trident Capital.


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