Google Ventures is expected to announce its latest investment decision Wednesday, sinking $4.5 million into paid-search middleman Trada.
Trada's third round of venture investment will be led by Google Ventures, with previous investor Foundry Group contributing another $1.25 million, the companies plan to announce Wednesday morning. Trada, based in Boulder, Colo., brings small businesses interested in modest paid-search campaigns together with work-for-hire search marketing experts looking for side gigs, said Niel Robertson, founder and CEO of the 50-employee start-up.
As with many of Google Ventures' other investments, paid search is a topic near and dear to the company. Paid search ads still account for about two-thirds of Google's overall revenue, and Trada runs a system that helps get smaller business unsure of how to mount a search campaign into the mix.
The company solicits small businesses that want to spend around $5,000 to $50,000 a month in search advertising but don't have the kind of in-house expertise required to get a campaign up and running, Robertson said. Those customers set metrics for how much they want to pay per click or per conversion, and if a network of around 550 paid-search consultants in Trada's databases can find a way to lower those costs, the consultant gets the difference: minus a 25 percent cut to Trada.
The end result is more businesses in the search advertising market, which obviously helps Google. Robertson said his company and Google did not talk about a potential acquisition as part of Google's never-ending campaign to buy up all the interesting Web start-ups that strike its fancy.