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Larry DrebesAn increasing number of sites are letting visitors log in through their existing social network identities. One company helping enable that trend, Janrain, announced a $15.5 million funding round led by Emergence Capital Partners, to keep ease of registration alive.

“We think the space we’re in, we’re just scratching the surface,” said founder and chief executive Larry Drebes (pictured) told VentureBeat in an interview.

Social logins are not only a way to streamline registration processes, but also an opportunity for websites to glean extra data about their users. Social logins are keys to an existing profile, which potentially provides age, sex, location, preferences and more. All of this data can be leveraged in marketing and advertising.

Janrain’s social login works as more than just a registration tool. The company also offers a suite of back-end services Social Loginfor harvesting and utilizing user data.

“Most of the web knows us with our front end, but we also have other products that actually store profiles and manage them.”

The suite begins with the social login feature  “Janrain Engage,” which also enables social sharing. If you’ve ever seen a dialog box like the one to the right, which asks you to log in through Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter or the like, you’ve probably used Janrain Engage.

“Janrain Capture” scrapes and stores profile data in the cloud and allows companies to share social profiles across select web properties and partner sites. “Janrain Federate” then enables single sign-on for all of those shared web properties. Dr. Pepper recently rolled “Janrain Capture” out across its properties.

Facebook Connect could be considered a competitor, but Drebes believes his company’s suite of products outruns the competition. “We certainly don’t walk up and down the halls and worry about Facebook Connect,” he said. In fact, the back-end products can be used in conjunction with companies who have already implemented Facebook Connect.

Surprisingly, given the amount of data it collects, Janrain isn’t focused on targeting advertisements. “We’re still in a space where knowing your user can help customize the experience,” Drebes said. According to Drebes, companies are mainly using Janrain to build richer interactions.

“At the end of the day advertising is a big part of the internet, but that’s not an area that we play in right now,” he said. “But I wouldn’t say that we’re totally outside of that space.”

Janrain will be using the funding to hire people across the board in addition to ramping up marketing efforts. For Drebes, however, the most exciting aspect of this round is the partnership with Emergence Capital Partners. “We’re absolutely thrilled,” Drebes said. “Emergence just concentrates on SaaS investments and that aligns with exactly what we’re doing.”

Drebes was connected to Emergence through a longstanding personal relationship with the venture firm’s founder Brian Jacobs, who is also joining Janrain’s board.

Janrain was founed in 2005 and serves clients like MTV, Intel, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Sears, and more. Funding to date totals $18.7 million from Emergence Capital Partners, Anthem Venture Partners, DFJ Frontier, RPM Ventures, Tim Draper, and founder Larry Drebes. The company currently has 60 employees.

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