You’ve already done the hard part: meeting all of those people, making contact, inputting them into your database. Now it’s time to put them to work for you, and that’s where nextSociety (xS) comes in, helping professionals to quickly identify the most relevant connections in their network based on their relevance, location and travel plans. By filtering connections based on relevance, xS allows users to categorize, organize and focus on staying connected with key contacts, based on their location.
In other words, you can easily find those contacts when you need them, where you need them, in your home town and beyond.
Location, location, location.
And that’s worth a lot. $1.6M, in fact. Especially with their new ping feature, which makes it faster and easier to connect.
CEO and Cofounder Dr. Peter Stebe how a software that helps prioritize one’s contacts became a priority for investors.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
nextSociety (xS) raised an institutional seed round of $1.6 MM USD. The round was led by Mike Ventling, Dr. Axel Meyer and AC & Friends. It also includes a grant from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).
Tell us about your product or service.
nextSociety is a professional networking tool that empowers users to make sense of their existing social networks by organizing and prioritizing their contacts. The network smarter app helps users focus on key social contacts based on their relevance, location and travel plans.
How is it different?
nextSociety is a tool, not a platform. While social networks have enabled us to connect with hundreds of people, it has become harder to focus on the most important contacts. The networking app filters you connections based on interests and location. Initially based on Linkedin, it helps you to connect with the right people at the right time.
Tell us about the new ping feature.
The new ping feature makes it easy to reach out and is following a market trend of a shorter and quicker means of communication. With one tap you can let your most relevant contacts know that you like to meet in a location of choice.
You all presented at the Dublin Web Summit – how did that help your company?
The Web Summit was a great conference to catch up with influencers, investors and our users. Also it helped to see what’s going on in the tech scene, which helps us to position ourselves right. We got valuable feedback on our pitch and some useful inside from influencers, like Robert Scoble and John Sculley. We also got approached by investors who are interested in the space.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are targeting professionals with 500+ connections on different social networks. The global addressable market is $2.5 Billion, growing at a double digit growth rate.
What’s your business model?
Freemium. We plan to monetize through premium features.
What was the funding process like?
We are very excited about the new investors. It took us two months to close the round and onboard the new investors. The process itself was straight forward: After we had agreed on the terms, we had a small due diligence with each investor and we signed the contracts a couple of days afterwards.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The hardest part of raising is painting the picture to the investors how the future of our startup will look like. It’s more of an art than science.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
After the initial seed round, the investor expectations were much higher for this institutional round. Having said that, we continued to focus on doing the right things: First, we listen to our customers and iterated the product based on feedback. Second, we added great new talents to our product and market team. This helped us to gain traction on the consumer side and to improve the app significantly. All of the above convinced our investors.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In the next six months, we will see a networking app with some very cool premium features. We plan launches in several communities over the next couple of months. Additionally, we are evaluating some new partnerships in 2015 – so stay tuned for some more great updates soon.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
That’s a difficult question, because it depends on the stage of the company, the size and the runway. However, if you built something that people really want, you will find a way to monetize, or investors will come your way. So, focus on your users and customers everything else will follow.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We will continue to execute on our strategy to rapidly grow our user base. Also, we are going to grow our team here in New York and in Vienna. There are also some interesting collaboration opportunities on the table, which could help us to scale even faster – we are in the middle of discussions and happy to update you in more detail our next interview.
Where’s your favorite NY bar to go to when you’re in the mood for Austrian beer?
We love to go to Café Katja. That’s where we get our Stiegl fresh off the tap.