FRANKFURT, June 25 (Reuters) - French web brand management firm Reputation VIP has raised 2 million euros ($2.2 mln) from a group of investors to fund expansion of its service to help companies and individuals protect their reputation in Google search results.
The company offers a subscription service to protect brands and individuals from unflattering links on Google Web searches. It has a projected turnover of 3 million euros this year, up from 1.1 million euros in 2014, President Bertrand Girin said.
The Lyon-based company drew attention last year after the European Union’s supreme court ordered Google and other search engines to remove outdated or irrelevant links from name-search results under its “right to be forgotten” online rules.
Four investors took part in its first outside funding round, including French Web pioneer-turned-investor Marie-Christine Levet, now a partner at Jaina Capital, along with early-stage investor Phi Square Holdings of Luxembourg, the company said.
Levet is a board member of FINP, the Google Fund for Digital Innovation of the Press, and a director of both telecom company Iliad SA and French public investment bank Bpifrance. She set up the French version of dot-com era Web portal Lycos.
Reputation VIP counts 200 mostly business customers, including banks, insurers and property companies. Ten percent of its clients are celebrities or corporate executives.
Its software development team analyses and adapts the Reputation VIP service to account for regular changes to Google page-ranking algorithms, which can promote links to information subscribers consider unflattering as an unintended consequence.
“If Google changes the algorithm to display different search results, it is not our customers’ problem, it is our problem,” Girin, a company co-founder, said in an interview on Thursday.
“In a sense, we are helping Google. We are tweaking the algorithm to have less negative side effects,” he said. His company operates entirely independent of the search giant.
The company has grown to 50 employees in four years and has been profitable since its founding, Girin said. ($1 = 0.8925 euros) (Reporting By Eric Auchard; Editing by Keith Weir)