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Kaesu, a provider of online services to free community papers, has received “more than $1 million” to jump-start its efforts. The strategic investment, from Media Space Solutions, is geared to open up community paper inventory around the U.S. for Media Space’s national advertisers.

Kaesu, a four-year-old company with fewer than 10 employees, has ties with more than 100 community paper companies. It also has signed some local newspaper companies, including 45 titles from North Jersey Media. It generally charges a flat monthly fee for its services.

It is not the first time a media company has tried to organize community papers into a hyperlocal network for national advertisers. The Web operation of at least one TV network has attempted to do the same thing. But community papers have generally been too ad hoc (and cheap) to effectively work with.

Pete Previte, Kaesu president and CEO, says the investment will help jump-start Kaesu’s efforts in helping its papers out-hyperlocal the hyperlocal companies. “It is enough to get to the next step,” he says.

Moreover, efforts like this could represent a new era for the free community newspaper community. While the industry has had something of a downturn, he notes that it has been in a much healthier position than daily newspapers. Indeed, some papers have even seen revenues increase, despite the sour economy.

While the community papers have generally had lackluster online results, Previte says Kaesu is well-positioned to boost results. It helps that the company is made up of industry veterans who speak the papers’ language.

The company helps the papers get up to speed by providing a suite of online and offline tools that help their businesses in general. For instance, it provides electronic tear sheets, online proofs and e-mail communication tools. The online tools that are at the heart of Kaesu’s system can be used to produce online coupons, videos and Web sites., which is located in Cresskill, New Jersey, is an example of a Kaesu partnership.

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