The company recently raised a $16M round from Mark Cuban, JetBlue and Will Smith's Dreamer FundRead more...
Social marketing company founded by former Dell executive Sam Decker funded by Mike Maples
Mass Relevance, a social marketing company that just launched, announced Tuesday that it has secured nearly $2 million from the Floodgate Fund (formerly Maples Investments) and Austin Ventures in a Series A round. Apparently social marketing is such a hot space, the startup is leaving the “highly competitive round” open for any other angel investors that want to get a piece of the pie.
As part of the deal, Floodgate’s Mike Maples, Jr. will take a seat on the Mass Relevance board.
CEO Sam Decker, a former Dell executive and founding CMO of Bazaarvoice, is joined by co-founders Brian Dainton and Eric Falcao in founding Mass Relevance, which will be a platform for brands like Best Buy, Macy’s and Dell to manage the content they share on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
“Curation is a concept whose time has come and this team has the technology and vision to lead in this space and drive real business results,” said Maples.
In anticipation of today’s announcement, Decker posted an analysis of the new marketing climate on his site, Decker Marketing.
“The capability to find, curate and display relevant social content will become a competitive advantage for brands, media and retailers who want to attract an audience,” writes Decker. “If you miss out, the alternative is that the masses will turn elsewhere to find relevant content.”
He goes on to describe three rising movements that signal where the market is going:
- Content production via social mediums already exceeds the audience’s ability to consume said content.
- Social content is more valuable than any other kind.
- Proliferation of digital consumer interaction points across different screens (phone, Web, etc.) fragments “eyeball time.”
“These movements are interoperable, like gears, where networks and crowdsourcing produce real-time content, which drives the need for curation & display.”
Decker isn’t the first to realize all of this, of course. Social marketing and social customer relationship management (CRM) have increasingly become buzz phrases in tech, as businesses and brands realize en masse that sites like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just toys for teens.
Other social marketing companies we’ve featured before and worth checking out are Extole and Shoutlet, both institutionally-funded startups focused on social CRM.
Read more from our "Trends and news" series
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What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests.
Where did the idea for Twitter come from?
Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.
How is Twitter built?
Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes.
We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.
How do you make money from Twitter?
There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.
In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet.
At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.
Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.
What's next for Twitter?
We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users.
We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.