ShareThis Lands Acquisition, $23 Million Funding Round to Boost Mobile Business

Picks up in-app sharing platform Socialize

As just about every company at the intersection of advertising and technology races to establish or advance its mobile business, social sharing platform ShareThis has quickened its pace with overlapping moves.

The company has raised a $23 million funding round led by European telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom’s investment arm T-Ventures. That move adds mobile expertise to ShareThis’s board and will help pay for its acquisition of Socialize, a platform for developers to add social features to their mobile apps.

“The funding helps to provide the capital to allow us to expand the company and continue to grow the business. One of the areas we have been looking to add more depth was in mobile, and we’ll use some of the funding for the [Socialize] acquisition,” said ShareThis CEO Kurt Abrahamson, who declined to disclose the deal’s price. The latest round brings the company’s total funding to $54 million.

ShareThis already had a mobile sharing tool, but it was more or less limited to mobile Web sites, Abrahamson said. Last year the company decided to nose around for acquisition targets and “looked at a few players” before deciding on San Francisco-based Socialize, which will solidify Palo Alto-headquartered ShareThis’s presence in the City by the Bay.  Socialize will also extend ShareThis' reach; the firm already claims to reach 200 million U.S. users. Socialize brings a network of 800 mobile apps spanning 67 million devices.

The deal will result in a unified platform that will now include in-app mobile sharing so that publishers can get a better comparison of how their content is performing between desktop and mobile.

However the acquisition isn’t expected to make ShareThis more attractive only to publishers. The company also has an advertising business to help brands pick out the most social content and audiences to advertise against. Abrahamson said he'd like to deepen the firm's ties with retailers and travel brands, two advertiser verticals for whom mobile is especially important.

ShareThis is retaining all Socialize employees with the startup’s engineering team reporting to ShareThis CTO Nanda Kishore and its CEO Daniel Odio reporting directly to Abrahamson.

In addition to T-Venture—which adds its investment director Bernhard Gold to ShareThis’s board—Harbourton, West Capital Advisors, Blue Chip Venture Company, DFJ, Illinois Ventures, Matthew Pritzker Company, Mercury Fund and RPM Ventures participated in the funding round.