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Klout said to have scored a buyer for influence business

The startup, which measures online authority, is reportedly being swallowed up by Lithium, a pre-IPO social software-as-a-service company.


Klout, the company known for serving as a yardstick for digital influence, is being acquired by Lithium Technologies for more than $100 million in cash and stock, according to a report from Recode.

Klout did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

Founded in 2008, the the San Francisco startup, led by CEO Joe Fernandez, set out to establish a de facto measurement for how people measure up against their peers in the influence department. The company's formula, which has expanded over the years, scores a person between 1 and 100 using a variety of factors, though it's been highly scrutinized for favoring perceived social influence over real-world power.

Through a program called Klout Perks, the startup worked with brands and marketers to find and reward people with online authority. Over the years, Klout has also attempted to add substance beyond just scoring, though its consumer-facing efforts never seemed to take off.

Lithium, meanwhile, helps its brand clients create customer experiences on their Web sites and social networks, which means Klout's influence scoring technologies could help the company identify important voices for its customers. In September of 2013, Lithium raised $50 million in funding to reportedly prepare for a public offering.

Recode reports the deal has been signed but has yet to close. If true, the sale to Lithium would be a respectful exit for Klout, which has raised around $40 million in financing.