Vizibility Raises $1.3 Million for Personal Web Branding Product
New York-based Vizibility announced today that it raised a follow-on seed round of $1.3 million, bringing its total capital raised to over $2 million. The company, which struggled to raise seed funding after it was founded in 2009, was oversubscribed on this round.
Vizibility is a tool that allows users to control how they appear when someone searches for them on Google. They can add key words that they want to be associated with their name, such as their employer’s name. Each Vizibility customer gets a SearchMe button, which they can add to any Web page. When people click on the button, they get right to the curated Google results. Members also get QR codes that they can add to business cards and other marketing materials in order to guide people towards their Vizibility search results.
As founder James Alexander told Xconomy in May, he was inspired to start Vizibility when his “two first names” made it impossible for anyone to search for him on the Web. He developed the Vizibility platform and began marketing it, mostly to services-based businesses such as law firms and consulting companies. Law firms Novak Druce and Lowenstein Sandler were early adopters.
The new funding round was led by Boston-based Launchpad Venture Group, with participation from Boston Harbor Angels, New York Angels and TiE Angels.
Vizibility now has 65,000 members and the platform has been incorporated into 30 websites. The basic version is free, but many of the company’s customers are paying for corporate packages that range from $29.95 to $199.95 a year. That’s why Alexander believes this funding round was an easier sell than the earlier one was. “Investors were looking for proof points, and I think we had them on the business model,” Alexander says.
Vizibility also secured two patents—the most recent of which came in while the company was completing this funding round. The patent covers a tracking tool that allows users to get a message when their SearchMe button or Vizibility QR code is clicked or scanned. The tool can distinguish between a spider that’s simply crawling the buttons and a real person who may actually be reading the Vizibility profile. “You don’t want to get a message every time a spider crawls your link. You only need to know when a human crawls it,” Alexander says.
Alexander says Vizibility is preparing to launch a couple of additions to its product in September. One will enable customers to embed their “social graph,” such as their Facebook contacts, into their QR code, so people checking someone’s Vizibility profile out can see whether they have any common acquaintances. Another product will be a QR code management tool for companies, which will allow human-resources folks to manage all their employees’ Vizibility profiles in one place.
Alexander hopes the new money will help him enhance the Vizibility platform enough to make it attractive to a potential acquirer. He’s not shy about admitting he has no intention of looking for more venture capital. “We think this is the last raise before the exit,” he says. “Our expectation is to be acquired.”