Janrain, the Portland, Ore.-based provider of customer identity management products, has secured $27 million in Series D funding in a round led by HighBar Partners. Existing investors Millennium Technology Value Partners, Split Rock Partners, Epic Ventures, Emergence Capital, RPM Ventures and DFJ Frontier also participated. 

As part of the transaction, John Kim, managing partner at HighBar Partners, is joining Janrain's Board of Directors.

Janrain has made steady traction in the past year, expanding its line up of features and partnerships, as well as acquiring real time social curation and engagement provider Arktan.


Perhaps its most intriguing announcement, though, was the appointment of Martin Day as its first chief financial officer in September. Day was general manager at MotoSport.com before joining Janrain, which means he doesn’t have that much ballyhooed experience of taking a company public. But that doesn’t mean he can't, at least according to his LinkedIn profile.

Also Janrain just closed on Series D. Now, in earlier days, a company requiring a fifth round of funding might have been viewed as a company that couldn't make a go of it after its fourth round. 

As Alex Popp, partner of Sales at the San Francisco-based Xamarin wrote in response to a question on Quora, "Series D could signal … that the company has strong fundamentals but needs extra capital to accelerate expansion. Or it could demonstrate that it hasn't hit growth expectations set from series C; in this case this would be a 'down' round and the series D is meant to keep the company afloat."

Lately, though, Popp wrote, Series D has come to represent something else entirely: the fervent desire of private companies to avoid the public market as long as possible.

Learning Opportunities

However, that particular cycle may be ending especially as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, literally as this is being written, has raised the federal funds rate for the first time in close to a decade.  Investors will have more choices to place their capital and might well not lend so freely to tech startups. (This, incidentally, is a story that will play out across almost every sector of the economy not just technology.)

All that said, the current climate on Wall Street is not exactly the most favorable for an initial public offering.

Its Next Move

Of course Janrain has money in the bank now with plans to allocate it somehow. In its announcement it said that it would use the new funding to build out Janrain's data analytics capabilities. It plans to do this by enhancing existing customer data with "relevant and actionable behavioral and cross-channel insights."

The company is also structured so it can "look at adjacent problems and areas of expansion" to its core Customer Identity platform," CEO Larry Drebes said.

Drebes also noted that Janrain recently added engagement functionality to its platform and it "sees a number of similar opportunities in the market as enterprises look for new ways to activate their audiences and offer a wider variety of identity-based marketing use cases."