Feb 24th 2014, 15:59, by Sarah Perez
SimilarGroup, the makers of a would-be Alexa killer called SimilarWeb which analyzes web rankings via a panel containing millions of web surfers, has raised a Series C round of funding. The new funding comes entirely from Naspers, the South African multinational media group that owns minority stakes in major internet companies worldwide, including a 30% stake in Tencent (Asian internet giant and makers of WeChat) as well as roughly the same in Russia’sMail.ru Group.
SimilarGroup’s valuation and the size of the round aren’t being officially disclosed, but TechCrunch is hearing that the Series C is “significant” – that is, in the tens of millions.
To date, SimilarGroup had raised $7.1 million in seed through Series B rounds.
As a part of the new funding, SimilarGroup will gain a new board member from Naspers. However, the company is not able to disclose who this is at present.
“They are huge investors that build very big companies, and they’re the best investors a startup can have…Every company in their portfolio is a one billion dollar company,” touts SimilarGroup CEO Or Offer of his company’s new investor Naspers, noting that the firm has invested in major international businesses like Brazil’s e-commerce giant Buscapé, the “Amazon of India” Flipkart, and online classifieds platform OLX, to name a few.
He also notes that this is Naspers’ first investment in Israel and in the analytics and data space.
SimilarGroup, for those unfamiliar, was founded in 2009, but up until fairly recently, was known for its suite of branded browser plugins (e.g. SimilarWeb, SimilarSites), which offered users suggestions of other websites similar to the one they’re visiting, and other useful information like web rankings, traffic sources, or reach, for example.
However, SimilarGroup’s larger goal was in developing a sizable network involving hundreds of un-branded browser plugins across a variety of verticals. This allowed it to develop a panel containing “tens of millions” of end users around the world. From these users, SimilarWeb is able to determine a website’s rankings at a scale that’s larger than competitors like Compete or comScore, which clock in at around 2 million users each.
In addition, the company has focused heavily on data science, employing those with machine-learning, big data and statistics backgrounds to ensure data accuracy.
Last fall, the company expanded upon its free web analytics offering with the launch of SimilarWeb Pro, a paid version of its measurement service. Today, that service has scaled to thousands of paying customers, including big names like eBay and Outbrain.
SimilarWeb To Pick Up Where Onavo Left Off
The company is currently at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, talking about its move into the world of mobile app analytics. Currently, SimilarWeb is working to match up websites with their mobile app counterparts to provide a more holistic picture of a web company’s traffic. But over time, it plans to do more, including offering a look into not just the app traffic itself, but also whether that traffic is bought or organic, how well consumers are engaged with the app, and other metrics.
SimilarWeb’s plan to gain insight into the world of mobile apps isn’t all that different from how it operates online, via web plugins that don’t contain its company branding. On iOS and Android, the company has “tens” of apps in the respective app stores, also without the SimilarGroup branding.
Like Facebook acquisition Onavo, which offered detailed and exact mobile insights by nature of having a consumer-facing data compression utility on the App Store, SimilarGroup provides a data compression utility, too.
But that’s not all. It also has an app to increase browser speeds, another for safe browsing, another for proxy services, and more, plus some app partnerships. Because these are not being branded “SimilarGroup,” others are not able to manipulate their rankings because they don’t know which apps belong to the company.
Now a team of 60 and rapidly growing, SimilarGroup expanded to London in October, is opening up an office in Germany next month, and will have an office in New York by year-end. The U.S. office will be focused mainly on sales and marketing. Says Offer, the plan is to double the sales team in the months ahead.