iWidgets, a San Francisco-based company that automates the process of embedding native applications into social networking sites, has raised $4.1 million in Series A funding. Opus Capital led the round, and was joined by University Venture Fund.
SAN FRANCISCO, February 4, 2009 – iWidgets, the Social Syndication Company(tm), has raised $4.1 million in Series A funding led by Opus Capital, a leading early-stage venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif. and University Venture Fund, a collaborative venture between universities, students and private equity funds based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
iWidgets today is also announcing the addition of Geoff Katz to the executive team as vice president of business development and marketing. Katz, an interactive television industry pioneer and digital media veteran, also currently serves on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Board of Governors. He joins iWidgets after stints with TiVo, DirectTV and brand experience design agency Method. The timing of iWidgets’ Series A funding and the addition of Katz to the team is a direct result of market demand for new and creative ways to reach consumers online.
“The audience has shifted to social destinations,” said Peter Yared, iWidgets CEO. “With these new investors, we are positioned to radically change the way publishers reach their fans online by helping them rapidly join the social media revolution at a massively reduced cost.”
iWidgets’ proven Social Syndication technology is a powerful new solution for publishing content on social sites and portals including Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, and iGoogle. The iWidgets platform includes easy-to-use wizards and drag-and-drop creative control that creates fully native applications, including different formats for walls and canvas pages, and full access to viral avenues such as newsfeeds and friend lists, opening up a new channel for monetizing content – including online video – on social networks. By embedding native applications on the networks where the most people are spending their time, building brand awareness online becomes achievable even while the effectiveness of banner ads continues to slump.
“Major media companies, music companies, retailers, technology companies and enterprises understand the power and reach they can achieve through a truly social application,” said Ken Elefant, a general partner of Opus Capital and member of the iWidgets board of directors. “Peter Yared is an experienced entrepreneur we have enjoyed knowing for years. Our investment will help iWidgets deliver on its promise to bring content to people where they live online and to drive social interaction in an effective way.”
“We’ve seen consumer traffic to destination websites flat-lining, but time spent on social networking platforms like Facebook and MySpace has continued to skyrocket,” Katz said. “The iWidgets platform creates a new model for television shows and other kinds of media to reach an audience online and to go viral with messages and promotions by tapping into the social graph.”
The iWidgets Social Syndication Platform is the only solution that offers full customization of widgets as well as native deployment into social networks. Other solutions do not help in the construction of widgets and rely on Flash rather than deep integration into the native dialects of each destination. iWidgets creates an untapped value proposition for viral content sharing.
iWidgets’ patent-pending WidgetWORA(tm) (Write Once Run Anywhere) technology publishes each application as a real, native widget on each destination at a dramatically lower cost than with custom programming. These native applications fit the look of each website, integrate data such as social graphs and profile information, and leverage viral channels such as newsfeeds and invitations.
iWidgets drives traffic and interest from your fans and their friends by socially syndicating your website’s interesting content and user activity to popular destination sites such as Facebook, MySpace and iGoogle. The iWidgets Social Syndication Platform allows simple creation of social applications that blend seamlessly with popular social networking sites. iWidgets works with CBS Interactive, other media companies and any company that seeks effective online distribution of their content. iWidgets is a private company based in San Francisco.
About Opus Capital
Opus Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm with more than $1 billion of committed capital under management, investing in committed, high integrity entrepreneurs building market-leading technology companies. The team has participated in the successful outcomes of more than 80 companies (including 50 IPOs) in the U.S. and in Israel including Adaptec, AirGate PCS, BlueNile, Brocade, Ciena, DoubleClick, Electronics for Imaging, FedEx, Genesys, Harmonic, Informatica, Kidaro and Vantive. Opus Capital is headquartered on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. For more information, visit www.opuscapital.com <http://www.opuscapital.com/> .