That was then, this is now. The news this month: not only did the company just raise $1Million (Vaizra Investments led the round, with participation from Advancit Capital, BOLDstart Ventures, Social Starts, Iowa City Capital Partners, and various angel investors). They also just launched SocialRank Market Intelligence, a service that helps brands find out who their competitors’ most engaged, valuable Twitter followers are.
How did the company manage to launch and close funding so quickly? Well, it does help to have a product that 5,000 brands are using. Co-founder Alex Taub tells us how he and co-founder Michael Schonfeld managed all of this. And the way he describes it, it’s not as hard as it sounds – or as easy as it looks.
Tell us about your product.
SocialRank is a simple tool that helps brands find out more information about the people that follow them on social networks, starting with Twitter.
How is it different?
We built a light-weight tool called SocialRank.co to help brands find out more about their followers on social networks, starting with Twitter. We currently just give a list of your most valuable, engaged and best followers. We just announced the ability to request early-access for running any handle you want. Great for competitive analysis and such. Our data is fully focused on the people who follow you – not necessarily what they are saying, but who they are.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are currently in the analytics and business intelligence space. We will be getting into the endorsement and rewards industry. The Analytics + BI industry is a $14B industry and endorsements are $50B.
What’s your business model?
Right now we have a premium version of SocialRank.co for $25/mo. This gives you your top 100, daily reports and more demo/geo info (as opposed to top 10 and a monthly report for free). When introducing SocialRank Market Intelligence (socialrank.co/intelligence), we will have a larger monthly amount than it cost (but then again you will be able to run any handle).
It was a blast! Ha. No – I mean, I learned the process of fundraising from friends. It’s a game you need to learn. The people who don’t raise just don’t know the process. The #1 rule in raising a seed round (future rounds are different) is don’t try to run around closing a round if you don’t have a lead or most of the money committed. But we tried to get this done quickly and probably spent 45 days on it.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
It is just a full-time job to raise money. It is very hard to make product advancement while raising. We are lucky that I focused on the raise while Michael, my cofounder, focused on pushing the business forward.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Michael and I are a great team – we complement each other very well. We also have a product that 5,000 brands are using. We made a good argument that we can take that and build a big business.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan to work with best in class brands on SocialRank Market Intelligence. We should be in beta for six months, so that’s our big focus. We also plan to have an overhaul on the product and how we display info + add more networks. Exciting six months ahead.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Do your best to either make money or build a product that people are using BEFORE raising. It is very hard to raise money without a product or traction in 2014.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
100% focus on product and brands using us. Making sure we have the best product possible. That is the most pressing action items for us.
Which craft beer ranks highest in your book?
You’d have to ask Michael Schonfeld, my co-founder. I’m not much of a drinker. I’m a hot chocolate kind of guy. (Schonfeld: Russian River Consecration)