Nothing Me.dium about its Funding

Me.dium, a company making a browser add-on that relates the webpages you are browsing to those being viewed by other people concurrently using the tool, today announced it had raised $15 million in a second round of funding, bringing its total amount of capital to $20 million from Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Spark Capital, Appian Ventures, Brad Feld, and Elon Musk.

Really? $15 million? I didn’t realize it had taken off to a level to attract that kind of bet. Me.dium is something I tried out for an early review and ended up uninstalling a week or so later during a plug-in purge.

I called Me.dium co-founder David Mandell this morning to ask how many users the company has. He said it had just opened up its private beta a week ago, and has 20,000 registered users total. How many were active users, he couldn’t say (though he said he would try to follow up). The users tend to be pretty geeky, he said, because the plug-in is only available for Firefox (IE is coming “in the next couple weeks”) and the sign-up process was until recently not very accessible.

The funding, Mandell said, is to be put toward infrastructure costs — “managing and making recommendations based on the real-time activity of everyone online actually uses a lot of hardware and engineering” — and also consumer marketing in the fall.

I have to say, $15 million is a pretty big bet for a company that has not proved many people will use its tools. In this latest round of post-bubble-burst web funding, I thought it was users first, money later, but here that doesn’t seem to be the case.