Funding Fun

Social Media Referral Platform Tout’d Raises $1.4M in Seed Funding

From the wilds of Alaska to a newly-funded NYC startup.
 Social Media Referral Platform Toutd Raises $1.4M in Seed Funding

Mr. Kallenberg (Photo: LinkedIn)

New York-based “Word-of-Mouth” platform Tout’d announced this morning that they raised $1.4 million in a seed round led by Warner Hill Angels. Tout’d, led by Techstars alum Arron Kallenberg and Wall Street vets Rob Morelli and Saro Cutri, allows users to crowdsource questions like, “What’s the name of a good plumber?” to your social connections, who can provide helpful answers.

Tout’d users can sign in using Facebook Connect and have personalized recommendations immediately delivered to them based on their social circle. Picture Foursquare tips, but for anything, and with more in-depth details.

Tout’d CTO Mr. Kallenberg, who is basically the definition of “serial entrepreneur,” has had his fair share of experience knocking around startup ideas. “When I got to college I wanted to study cultural anthropology, but my family operates a commercial fishing boat in Alaska and the fishing industry took a nosedive economically, so I started a consulting company doing app development when I was pretty young,” Mr. Kallenberg told Betabeat by phone.

Another startup that he headed, Villij, was accepted into Techstars Boulder’s first ever class in 2007. The company eventually went under (“We were young”) , but Mr. Kallenberg was able to use his Techstars connections to get VaynerMedia–then in its infancy–to back a new startup, DandyID, a social media identity aggregation service. Vayner bought an equity stake in the DandyID, which was acquired by a Canadian company last year.

Mr. Kallenberg met his ex-Wall Street cofounders, Mr. Morelli and Mr. Cutri, “on the New York tech scene” and realized they had “thematically similar ideas.” “We kind of made the perfect team,” admitted Mr. Kallenberg. “From that we developed the prototype [of Tout'd] and the funding came pretty easily.”┬áTout’d officially launched in May, which means the trio raised a seed round in less than two months.

Mr. Kallenberg says the Tout’d team plans to use the funds to redesign the UI, continue building out the recommendation engine’s core technology and “hire some┬áreally talented developers and designers.” Tout’d is also working on a mobile version.

As for Tout’d’s user base, Mr. Kallenberg said they’re not disclosing specific numbers, but that adoption of the site has doubled since the launch in May.

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