Sprout Social, provider of social media management tools for business, announced Wednesday the closing of $10 million in Series B venture funding led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
The startup first raised a small round (about $1 million) from Lightbank in May 2010, followed by another $1 million from the same firm in November 2010. (Lightbank is an investment group created by Groupon founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell.)
One of a host of social marketing services trying to cash in on Facebook and Twitter’s ever-growing influence, Sprout Social allows its clients to monitor those social networks, along with LinkedIn and location services, all from one central hub. The company wants to help businesses find new customers and foster strong relationships with current ones. Sprout Social gives its clients the tools to engage directly with customers as well as to analyze audience demographics and other key data.
While Sprout Social is available for companies of all sizes and types, small and local businesses will benefit most from the service because of its focus on one-to-one relationships with the customer.
Businesses choose between two plans, “Pro” ($9 per month) and “Business” ($49 per month). In the first, “ideal for independent, small and online businesses,” clients can manage all their social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) with up to five identities. Performance analytics and other metrics are also made available. In the second, more premium plan, “ideal when you have a local audience, or need to manage a larger business,” clients can manage physical locations and check-ins (Foursquare, Gowalla) and can use up to 10 different identities.
Social marketing is one of the hottest spaces in tech right now, no question; there’s a new startup getting funded all the time. Last week, Vitrue closed a $17 million Series C for its own social marketing platform, which helps companies small and large create and manage their brand pages on Facebook and Twitter.
The new funding will be used to fuel business development and product strategy.