Here's what Attensa says it will be doing with all that cash:
Getting to Less is More with Article Level IntelligencePerhaps the personalization bubble has already started.
By intelligently analyzing information about RSS articles and how readers are interacting with the articles, the Attensa RSS network can deliver more relevant, timely information ...
Using Attensa network attention streams that accommodate the Attention.xml standard, metadata is ... triangulated through collaborative filtering to deliver the most relevant information.
By sharing, aggregating and triangulating the attention streams (anonymously and in near real-time) generated by the millions of people using RSS feeds ... [Attensa will] create privacy protected anonymous user profiles, based on permission, that can recommend content, refine blog and Website searching, and enhance the experience of tracking the news that matters ...
But, from what I can tell, this company seems to have cast its net far and wide, saying they'll be doing RSS for enterprise (like Newsgator), an Outlook-based feed reader (like Newsgator and soon Microsoft), metrics for publishers (like FeedBurner), popular posts (like Digg), article clustering (like Memeorandum), tagging (like del.icio.us), and recommended articles (like Findory). Who knows, with $12M in funding, perhaps they'll succeed in tackling this laundry list.
If you're interested, Attensa's VP of R&D, Eric Hayes, has a blog. A couple months ago, Eric and I had a short thread about the difficulty of building scalable recommendation systems.