Growing SocialRank

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This week, we hit the four month mark since Michael and I left our jobs to start our own company. The past four months have been some of the most exciting and exhausting periods of our lives.

The product itself has now been live for two and half months. We deliberately started with a simple tool that reads more like a list (people love lists!) and have since layered more useful functionality on top of the basic tool to make it more useful for brands. We have set an exciting cadence for adding new features, and hope to continue to do so.

So why did we want to build SocialRank in the first place? In the past 5-10 years brands have spent time, money and many other resources with the intent of gaining more followers, fans, shares, Retweets, pins, likes, etc. This is great- but to what end? How do they take advantage of all of this social capital? We see a huge opportunity to help brands better understand, connect and track their relationships with these followers and fans. Our vision for SocialRank is to be the go-to tool for brands who want to understand, manage, engage, reward, and track the people who follow them across social networks. We have a lot to do which is a good segue to our announcement today.

To that end, we are happy to announce that we have raised a seed round of funding, totaling a little over $1M.

This round was led by Vaizra Investments with participation from Advancit CapitalBOLDstart VenturesSocial StartsIowa City Capital Partners and a bunch of great angel investors.

Each investor brings something great to the table:

Vaizra (run by Ron Rofe, Yitzhak Mirilashvili and Shlomo Kalish) bring years of experience in the social space (Ron was the co-founder of Plarium, one of the fastest growing gaming sites in Europe and Yitzhak was the co-founder of VK.com, which is best known as the biggest social network of Russia). I met Ron at the end of 2011 and we have been close ever since. We are very happy to be part of the Vaizra family now.

Advancit Capital (run by Jason OstheimerShari Redstone and Jonathan Miller) bring years of experience in the entertainment industry. SocialRank, the product, has received lots of interest from the entertainment industry (see our recent partnership with The Queen Latifah Show). Navigating the entertainment and media industry isn’t the easiest thing and having Advancit Capital in our corner will be great.

BOLDstart Ventures (run by Ed Sim and Eliot Durbin) is one of the best seed stage funds on either coast. Michael and I have gotten to know Ed and Eliot over the past few years and they have really helped us with thinking through all parts of the business. We’re excited to have them onboard.

Social Starts (run by William LohseMike Edelhart and Seth Rosenblatt) focuses on social startups and their fund thesis is around the revolution this era is bringing. The team at Social Starts have seen it all and have a deep knowledge around guiding us to the promise land when building SocialRank.

Iowa City Capital Partners (run by Anthony Marlowe) is a fund that came into the round after Anthony began using the product. Anthony immediately saw the value and direction of what we were building and reached out. Anthony has deep ties in the sports / racing industry (as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Co-Owner) which happens to be one of the industries with strong adoption to our tool. We’re looking forward to working more with Anthony!

We also have a great group of angel investors consisting of friends, family and industry experts. In terms of the entertainment industry, we’re happy that Charles King, a Partner/ Motion Picture Agent from WME Entertainment is participating in the round. Charles has a vast knowledge about the media business and we are looking forward to learning all we can from him.

We’re also happy to include Marcy Simon in the round. Marcy Simon has over 20 years of global expertise in driving the development and reputation of companies from start-ups to multi-billion dollar organizations. Marcy is currently a Senior Advisor, Managing Director at Burson-Marsteller. I’ve personally known Marcy since my Aviary days and she has always been immensely helpful. She just gets stuff done.

On top of the announcement of funding, we are happy to announce that we have had over 5,000 brands use SocialRank since we launched on February 25th. We’re beginning to work closely with a lot of them now and you should expect to see some great announcements in the next few months.

Today we are also announcing SocialRank Market Intelligence (see other post), a simple tool that allows brands the ability to run any handle and find out who their most engaged, valuable and best followers are. This allows brands to learn about their competitors or brands they aspire to be like. You can request early access here.

Lastly, we are hiring. We just made our first hire this week (to be announced soon) and if you are interested in joining Michael and me on this adventure – hit us up at jobs@socialrank.co.

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