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10 Hot Social Media Startups to Watch

Jeff Vance | April 18, 2013
Social media startups aren't typically as well-funded as cloud or mobile startups, but they can have just as much impact and potential in how a business functions and succeeds. After evaluating more than 40 social media startups and then turning to crowdsourcing for input, here are the 10 hot social media startups to watch.

Bloomfire competes with both startups and incumbent collaboration and content management providers. These include Microsoft (Yammer and Sharepoint), Jive, Huddle, Basecamp and others.

Bloomfire has more than 220 paying customers (including Etsy, Kellogg's, Comcast, Bechtel and the Make-a-Wish Foundation) and claims more than 65,000 corporate users worldwide.

4. CrowdTwist

What they do: CrowdTwist helps brands recognize and incentivize their most influential fans or customers, helping to build brand loyalty.

Headquarters: New York, N.Y.

CEO: Irving Fain. Before CrowdTwist, Fain ran the digital marketing and social platforms for Clear Channel Radio Digital.

Founded: 2009

Funding: CrowdTwist raised $6 million in Series A funding at the end of 2011 in a round led by SoftBank Capital and Fairhaven Capital. kbs+p Ventures and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments also participated.

Why they're on this list: CrowdTwist looks at customer behavior holistically, rather than, say, just by measuring social media sentiment and Web traffic. It attempts to measure every way a customer interacts with a brand whether online, via social media or when a customer purchases merchandise in a physical store, giving businesses a much more granular knowledge of their customers than was previously possible.

A major part of what CrowdTwist helps brands discover is customer loyalty. Once the most loyal and valuable customers are discovered, CrowdTwist then helps brands reward them with unique experiences and VIP access. For example, top Miami Dolphins fans can earn the chance to run the team flag onto the field before a game.

Not only do these rewards help a brand by building loyalty, but they also trigger word-of-mouth support.

Market Potential and Competitive Landscape: There are a million and one loyalty programs out there, everything from airline mileage programs to credit card cashback programs. Additionally, companies like Belly, BadgeVille and BigDoor all compete with CrowdTwist.

CrowdTwist says that what sets it apart from competitors is the emphasis not on rewards, but on rewarding the right people. Customers include the Miami Dolphins and FOX.

5. Evzdrop

What they do: Evzdrop tries to cut through social media clutter by leaning on "place" as a key filter. Users can get a collective snapshot of what's happening at a place of interest in real time through the people who are at the location.

Headquarters: Chicago, Ill.

CEO: David Rush, who was previously a partner at private equity firm Sopris Partners. Before that, he was a vice president at Iconoculture (acquired by Corporate Executive Board) and a VP at PostX (acquired by IronPort).

Founded: 2012

Funding: $500,000 from angel investors

Why they're on this list: We like the idea of a social network built on place. If you've ever wanted to eavesdrop in on one of your local watering holes (the ones with pool tables) to decide whether or not it was worth stopping in, you'll appreciate Evzdrop. Something like this could help you measure the vibe of a place at any moment in time.

 

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