Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Crimson Hexagon: Tracking Online Conversations

Checked in this morning with Mike Troiano, a former ad agency and tech company exec who linked up with Crimson Hexagon back in April as an advisor -- mainly to help the company secure new funding. Crimson Hexagon, based on technology developed at Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science, is a Cambridge start-up that digs into all kinds of online conversations to figure out what people are saying about a given product or service. The company got going in 2007, has been funded by angel investors and angel groups, and officially launched last fall.

Lots of companies, Troiano says, are good at searching for keywords (like "Ben & Jerry's") across the Web and assessing how much buzz a given brand is getting. Crimson Hexagon, he says, has "the ability to find patterns in the dots of online conversation, across blogs, Twitter, bulletin boards, and forums. It's not just about the volume of buzz, but what people are saying." An example: the firm recently explored the positive and negative reactions on Twitter to Microsoft's Bing search site.

As for a new round of funding, Troiano told me to expect an announcement from Crimson Hexagon within a few weeks. It likely will come from angels, rather than VC firms. "I've never seen a [fundraising] market like this," Troiano said. "VCs are protecting their cash to allocate it to current portfolio companies." (Though Troiano admits that some VCs may simply think that Crimson Hexagon is still too young a company for them to fund.) "If we got paid by the meeting, we'd be sitting pretty," he quipped, referring to investors' willingness to take a meeting -- even if they're not doing much active investing.

Another company in the "social media monitoring" space, New York-based Techrigy, was just acquired today for an undisclosed sum. That could bode well for Crimson Hexagon.

Crimson Hexagon is part of what I think of as the "metrics and measurement" cluster here in Massachusetts -- a cluster that includes firms like Visible Measures (video measurement), Compete (Web traffic), and Localytics, a mobile measurement company that's now participating in the TechStars Boston summer program.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another $10 Mil for Visible Measures, Boston-based Video Measurement Firm

I've been talking for the last few weeks with various folks about how *quiet* the first quarter has seemed, in terms of new VC financings and follow-on rounds. It'll be interesting to see what the MoneyTree numbers look like for this quarter.

Bucking the trend today is Visible Measures, which just raised a $10 million up round from Northgate Capital, Mohr Davidow, and General Catalyst. This is the company's third round, bringing the total raised to $29 million. Visible Measures focuses on measuring online video viewership.

CEO Brian Shin writes via e-mail:

    ...We actually didn’t need money really, but we decided that if there was interest from an outside investor to “price” the round, then we could do it now (as long as it didn’t take too much time) and we’d be better positioned to grow in a downturn.

    We’ve always felt that it was important for us to raise money before needing it, and that seems to hold true especially in a tough environment like this.

    ...Our thoughts go out to entrepreneurs and startups all over the world who are struggling now. We consider ourselves blessed to be in this position, and we take this opportunity very seriously.

I just added Brian's blog to the list at the right.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

News Tidbits to Start the Week: Authoria, SpaceClaim, Visible Measures

- Authoria, a SaaS survivor of the dot-com blow-out, is being acquired by a private equity firm for $63.1 million. Waltham-based Authoria sells "talent management solutions"; the buyer is Bedford Funding, which will agree to put in another $8 million in working capital.

Not sure, but this company seems to have undergone a recapitalization at some point...[ Update: they recapped in 2004 ] they raised $75 million in one round back in 2000, but none of those investors are still on the board. The most recent round was $22.5 million last fall. Amazingly, Tod Loofbourrow has stuck it out as the company's CEO for more than a decade.

- General Catalyst portfolio company Visible Measures announced a big deal today to provide video measurement services to all of MTV Networks' properties.

- SpaceClaim founder Mike Payne mentioned to me earlier this month that Chris Randles, formerly CEO at MathSoft, was taking over the CEO reins at the Concord-based maker of computer modeling software. Randles had been serving as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Borealis Ventures, one of the VC firms that has backed SpaceClaim. The official announcement, apparently, happens later this week. Payne had served as CEO until this spring.

3D CAD news reported back in January that there had been some lay-offs at the start-up... and that the COO had departed.

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