Taboola, a startup that sells sponsored web and Internet video content recommendation services, has raised $117 million in funding led by Fidelity with participation from Advance Publications (parent of Condé Nast), Comcast Ventures, Yahoo Japan and others.
The Series E round brings Taboola’s total capital raised to $157 million. Others that joined the round include existing investors Marker LLC and Steadfast Capital and new investors Carlo De Benedetti, chairman of Italian media conglom Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, and Groupe Arnault, which is the majority shareholder of LVMH.
Taboola, founded in 2007, serves 6 billion content recommendations per day with an audience of about 550 million unique users per month, founder and CEO Adam Singolda said. (Disclosure: Penske Media Corp., publisher of Variety, is a Taboola client.)
With the latest funding, Taboola’s valuation is somewhere less than $1 billion, Singolda said, without being more specific. The company will use the new round of funding to expand into more international markets, potentially make acquisitions and develop what Singolda calls “full-page personalization.”
“I think of Taboola as building a search engine in reverse,” he said.
Taboola generated $200 million in revenue last year, with the fourth quarter of 2014 marking its sixth consecutive quarter of being profitable, according to Singolda. Customers include USA Today, NBC News, Chicago Tribune, Fox Sports and The Weather Channel. Usage is roughly 50-50 between desktop and mobile devices, Singolda said.
Competitors include Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, AOL and Outbrain. “Social is only one part of the market,” Singolda said. “We want to show you something your friends are not sharing.”
The NYC-based company has 250 employees, with offices in Tel Aviv, Israel; Pasadena, Calif.; London; and Bangkok. Credit Suisse was the exclusive financial adviser to Taboola in the funding round.