Austin's Spredfast raises $50 million to grow

Software maker will ramp up product development and global expansion

Social media software maker Spredfast has raised $50 million to ramp up product development and launch a global expansion plan.

The lead investor in the deal was Riverwood Capital, based in Silicon Valley. Previous investors including Austin Ventures, Interwest Partners and OpenView Venture Partners also participated.

ExploreThe company, founded in 2008, has raised a total of $116 million.

Austin-based Spredfast sells software that companies and brands use to manage and analyze their social media content and build social media campaigns across multiple sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr.

Its 650 customers include Target, Bank of America, Airbnb and NBC Universal.

"Our new investor believes that this is the next huge global category," said Rod Favaron, Spredfast CEO. "That means you go after it aggressively. This round says strategic, and it says long term. We helped invent this category and we intend to be the leader when the dust settles."

The social marketing software business is currently dominated by large players including Oracle, Adobe and, as well a growing number of small companies that offer individual tools.

Favaron said Spredfast is positioned between the two, which allows it to be more nimble than the big players, while offering more product depth than the startups.

"What's specific to this market is how fast you have to innovate," he said. "Our biggest challenge is now we're not a startup anymore, we're a much bigger company, and we have to maintain our ability to go fast and be very innovative."

To stay ahead, Spredfast may consider acquiring smaller companies, Favaron said.

ExploreLast year, the company acquired Shoutlet, a Madison, Wis., based social media startup that helps companies measure the impact of online marketing campaigns. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The company doesn't disclose financial details, but Favaron said revenue grew 130 percent in 2015 from the year before.

Spredfast has 550 employees, including 330 in Austin. The company is hiring across the board.

The investment is believed to be the second largest in an Austin company this year. In March, Pivot3, which develops server and storage virtualization software and hardware, raised $55 million in equity and bank financing.