CE Members Named to 2014 Top 40 Under 40 List

40under40This year, four Capital Entrepreneurs members were named to the InBusiness 40 Under 40 list for 2014. The 40 Under 40 list honors emerging business stars under 40 years of age in the greater Madison area.

Brad Grzesiak, co-founder and CEO of Bendyworks. Grzesiak is also very involved in Madison’s tech scene as an early member of Capital Entrepreneurs and a chair of Madisonium, a group working to raise Madison’s visibility as a tech/Internet hub. Recently, Grzesiak was named to the city of Madison’s Digital Technology Committee.

Max Lynch, founder and CTO of Drifty Co.  Lynch looks to reinvest in young tech entrepreneurs to “build software companies focused on profitability and sustainability.” He aims to have Drifty Co. “impact the world” and “put Madison on the map for Internet companies like Mailchimp and 37signals.”

Daniel Neely, founder and CEO of Networked Insights.  Neely became CEO of Networked Insights at the age of 29 and has since grown the company to over 150 employees. He has also earned a board position with UW Business School’s Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship program.

Ben Raboine, CTO of Optimal Media Group. Raboine founded his first company at the age of 21 and is currently an equal partner in six LLC enterprises: Raboine Web Matrix, Optimal Media Group, Custom Offsets, Vistrata Health, Mysteria Games, and SeeMeNow. Raboine hopes to one day become an angel investor to help more fellow Madison and Wisconsin entrepreneurs.

2013 Recap: Networked Insights

logo-networked-insights-large2013 represented another year of rapid growth for Networked Insights. Dozens of the world’s largest brands and advertising spenders joined our client roster during 2013. To accommodate the demand for our technology-enabled marketing services, we expanded our offices in Chicago, New York, Madison, and LA increasing our full-time head count by 42%.

On the client front, dozens of brands joined our client roster, spanning the consumer electronics, food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, financial services, media, and entertainment verticals. The vast majority of these brands represent “household names” with products and services that are widely recognized as being leaders in their respective industries. These clients supplemented the work we have continued providing for such well-known brands as Samsung, Revlon, Viacom, MillerCoors, GE, and Proctor & Gamble.

From a technology standpoint, a number of enhancements were made to our proprietary technology platform, SocialSense. The improvements gave marketers the ability to easily classify consumers using social data. This gave leading brands more than 22,000 ways to classify the social web, including major marketing categories like age range, location, gender, psychographics, life stage, interests, preferences and more.

It was also an excellent year for building strategic partnerships with social media leaders. Networked Insights was one of the first companies to join the Certified Products Program for Automattic, the company behind WordPress. This partnership gave Networked Insights complete access to their immense wealth of data related to consumer conversations, to help brand marketers and CMOs better understand their consumers. Similarly, Twitter included Networked Insights as one of a handful of technology partners. The company highlighted Networked Insights’ ability to leverage their data to discern audience interests, attributes and engagement, to produce actionable intelligence for brands.

We continued to receive recognition across the marketing industry and have become established thought leaders in the space, presenting at prestigious industry gatherings such as Ad:Tech, Advertising Week, TechWeek, and the American Marketing Association.

2012 Recap: Networked Insights

Networked Insights continued to experience inordinate growth in its client base, revenue, operational scope, and team size during 2012. Revenue from clients increased by over 300% from 2011. The company greatly expanded its list of household client names by adding companies such as Samsung, Duracell, Almay, General Electric, Dell, and Allstate Insurance to its client roster. Additionally, NI continued to expand its relationship and work scope with such major advertisers as MillerCoors, MTV, Research in Motion.

The company also received significant media exposure again in 2012 being highlighted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Advertising Age and others. Most notably, the company was highlighted by Fast Company Magazine as one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World, alongside Facebook, Google, and other household names.

Beyond simply adding well-known companies to its client roles, Networked Insights has steadily increased the magnitude and scope of its services within the marketing departments of these companies. Once funded by small budget experimental marketing and research teams, the company now delivers insights that sit at the heart of major strategic decisions for many of these clients. Several examples of these were recently highlighted in a Wall Street Journal from October.

The most significant product development for the company in 2012 was the re-establishment of its flagship product SocialSense as a standalone, client facing technology. In recent years the company had focused on delivering its social media analytics by way of a growing services organization while it worked behind the scenes to improve the tools and underlying technology that did the heavy lifting for that research. At the request of several clients, the company developed a completely new user interface and launched SocialSense 4.0 to great client fanfare in second quarter.

To support the increasing sales success, Networked Insights greatly expanded its staff over the course of the year, particularly in its Chicago office. The company now has over 100 full-time employees working in company offices in Madison, Chicago, New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, and a few other remote locations.

Looking ahead, the company plans to continue to evolve the scope of its SocialSense product by expanding to include more sources and types of data. The goal is to create a true enterprise marketing decision platform that provides groundbreaking insights and marketing activation capabilities to greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing and advertising budgets.

Check out past Networked Insights news posts here.

2011 Recap: Networked Insights

For Networked Insights, 2011 was year of significant milestones, growth and validation. We received marketplace support from clients, the media and the investor community. We cleared a number of hurdles that startup endeavors face during their early stages. And we entered 2012 with incredible optimism about the path ahead.

For the third straight year, Networked Insights enjoyed dramatic revenue growth based on the growing number of deals we signed with companies of various sizes. We formed new client relationships with household names such as MTV, Samsung and MillerCoors. Through our work with these and other clients, we helped influence approximately $5 billion of advertising investments. Our clients achieved significant marketing performance gains in part because of the insights our work produced. They also benefitted from the exceptional customer experience delivered by Networked Insights, a result of the emphasis we placed on building a first-class client services team in 2011. Our client retention improved dramatically and was nearly perfect in 2011.

Overall, Networked Insights grew at a breakneck pace in 2011. When the year started, we had roughly 25 employees, nearly all of which were housed in our Madison office. By year-end, we had 73 full-time personnel, significant offices in Chicago and New York, and a strong presence in Toronto, Houston, Atlanta and Denver.

A national public relations effort produced new exposure levels throughout the year. There were frequent mentions across both large and niche publications such as Esquire, Mashable, MediaPost, AdWeek, AdAge, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, LA Times and the NY Times. Our company was also prominently mentioned in two hardcopy books published in 2011: Listen First!, by Steve Rappaport, and The Successful Marketing Plan, 4th Edition, by Roman G. Hiebing Jr., Scott W. Copper, and Steven J. Wehrenberg.

Finally, one of the most exciting developments for us in 2011 was the interest and support we received from the investor community. In addition to continued support from our great local investors who have been with us from the beginning, we also were fortunate to bring on Goldman Sachs Investment Partners as the lead investor of our $20 million Series B round of financing, which closed in July. Through the course of their due diligence, the team at Goldman Sachs was impressed by our staff, vision and underlying technology platform. They are now committed to being a part of our long-term growth plan. The success of the Series B financing was a great tribute to the way we have overcome challenges in the past and seized opportunities that have arisen, and it is a strong signal that there are many great things ahead of us in 2012 and beyond.

Networked Insights Raises $20 Million

In what may be the biggest non-biotech venture capital funding ever in Wisconsin, CE member company Networked Insights recently completed a $20 million Series B round of funding. Networked Insights was founded in 2006 and makes a social media listening platform that helps agencies and brand marketers make better strategic and tactical decisions by analyzing what’s happening on the social web.

Read the full official release here.

Networked Insights in USA Today

Capital Entrepreneurs members Networked Insights was featured in USA Today talking about valuations of NFL teams based on online mentions and online activity.  From the link:

Which NFL team is creating the most buzz on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets?

It’s the Dallas Cowboys, so-called America’s Team.

What may surprise you is that the woeful Detroit Lions are runners-up.

The first-time rankings, by Networked Insights, an analytics company of social media data, underscore that “you don’t have to be the best brand or NFL team to be included in the most conversations,” says Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights.

The company used an algorithm it created that analyzed the conversations of 300 million people on the web and 17 million websites over the past 30 days. It viewed number of posts on individual teams, retweets, viewed online content and activity around fantasy football teams.

“My expectations was the (Washington) Redskins would be tops, since they are the (second-most valued team (at $1.55 billion), according to Forbes,” says Neely. (Dallas is No. 1, at $1.8 billion.)

Capital Entrepreneurs Featured in Techcrunch

Steve Faulkner of GeoHuddle was invited to write a guest post about startup culture in Madison.  He wrote an article called Wisconsin: Beer, Cheese and…Startups, which included Capital Entrepreneurs, GeoHuddle, Networked Insights, Entrustet, Virent, PerBlue and Alice.  It’s great to see Madison being recognized as one of the new, up and coming hotbeds of entrepreneurship and technology startups.  From the article:

Most people associate Wisconsin with cheese and beer, but you should think about adding startups to that list. Led by a tidal wave of mostly young entrepreneurs, Madison, Wisconsin is staking a claim as the startup capital of the Midwest. Madison was recently ranked as the 7th most innovative city in the country by Forbes magazine – just above perennial powerhouse Boston, MA.

Several key organizations are driving the growing startup community. Capital Entrepreneurs is a group of over 56 companies that meet on a regular basis to help founders network and develop connections. MERLIN Mentors provides free mentoring services to new startups. Applicants are assigned a team of experienced entrepreneurs who help founders navigate many of the challenges facing a new company. These groups, along with the University of Wisconsin, are fostering a great culture for new startups.

Networked Insights Launches Analytics Platform for Facebook

Capital Entrepreneurs member Networked Insights was featured on Media Post because it launched SocialSenseFB, its analytics platform for Facebook Fan pages.  From the Media Post link:

Putting a price on Facebook Fan pages to monitor return on investments (ROIs) for campaigns takes more than reading a post or monitoring clicks. Networked Insights earlier this week released SocialSenseFB, an application that monitors the chatter from fans on a company’s page and how long they spend on the page.

Dan Neely, founder and chief executive officer at Networked Insights, a social media tech company, estimates about 7 million Fan pages on Facebook, from a variety of brands like Starbucks and Research In Motion (RIM). “You don’t need to read 100,000 posts weekly, but rather understand the trends and themes, so you know how to talk with your customers,” he says. “Understanding what’s valuable to them in Facebook, where they engage with you in real time, compared with blogs, where they talk about you, is very different.”

Networked Insights in The New York Times

Capital Entrepreneurs member company Networked Insights was featured in the New York Times this weekend in an article called Online Buzz Doesn’t Equate To Ratings.

As might be expected for a series working toward its recent much-promoted finale, “Lost” below, generated the most engagement through social media of any show from February through April, according to Networked Insights, a social media analytics company.

The statistic is the modern equivalent of water cooler conversation, and is measured by the number of online interactions posted and read about a given show. “American Idol” ranked second, and there was a steep drop-off in the social media index after that. Moreover, other shows with substantial online buzz did not have commensurate Nielsen ratings. Only four of the 10 shows in the social media ranking were also in the top 10 for ratings. Many popular shows on the social media index, like “The Simpsons,” were not even in the top 40 in Nielsen ratings.

Networked Insights Raises $5m in Series A Funding

Capital Entrepreneurs member company Networked Insights raised $5m in series A funding from Madison angel investment firm Kegonsa Capital.  From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal article titled Networked Insights Raises $5m:

Networked Insights raised the money in a funding round led by Kegonsa Capital Partners, a Fitchburg investment fund. The company will use the money to continue listening in on 1.5 billion conversations that 300 million people are having each month on the Internet, the company said.

“This infusion of capital will propel us even further in that direction, tapping the power of the largest focus group in the world to improve any and all marketing activities that rely on understanding the customer,” Dan Neely, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Networked Insights was founded in 2006 and has offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The company previously raised $4 million from Kegonsa and other investors. The new round brings the total amount of investments it has raised to $9 million, the release said.

Networked Insights Featured in Wisconsin State Journal

Networked Insights founder and Capital Entrepreneurs member Dan Neely was featured in the Executive Q&A section of the Wisconsin State Journal.

Instead, Neely, 33, uses his math skills to devise computer programs. He heads Networked Insights, a company created in Madison in 2006. Networked Insights analyzes social media to find out what everyone is talking about.

What can it possibly matter what people are replying to blogs or what they are tweeting about on Twitter? All that information helps companies figure out how and where to market themselves, Neely says.

Networked Insights In Brandweek

Dan Neely, CEO of Capital Entrepreneurs member Networked Insights was quoted in Brandweek.  From the article:

While digital channels and online interactions offer a plethora of data points, they don’t come with a set playbook for assigning value. Marketers have grown comfortable with formulas like gross ratings points and frequency, time-tested formulas for building brands in traditional media. Yet with social media, what’s a Facebook friend worth?

“The value of social media is it’s the richest data set that’s ever existed,” says Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights, a Wisconsin-based analytics company that uses social media to help clients make marketing decisions. “You can use this data for many things.”

The two sides of the social-media measurement debate are at the forefront as many marketers plan to ramp up their social-media budgets in 2010. According to an ExactTarget survey of 1,000 marketers, 70 percent said they plan to increase spending in social media, but less than 20 percent said they could effectively measure ROI.

Madison Entrepreneurs Present at Accelerate Madison

Last week Capital Entrepreneurs member Networked Insights led a group of entrepreneurs at an Accelerate Madison event called Entrepreneurs vs. Economy. The presenters included Planet Propaganda founder John Besmer, StudyBlue CEO Becky Splitt, Networked Insights VP Brian Johnson and Netconcepts (now Covario) founder Stephan Spencer.

These entrepreneurial presentations are available for free online, so check them out to learn more about entrepreneurship from some great Madison companies.

Networked Insights Featured on Media Post

Capital Entrepreneurs member company Networked Insights was featured on Mediapost today.  From the link:

Rather than having the ability to simply recognize signals from noise across social media, Networked Insights wants to assure that clients can identify the conversations and what each means. The company does this through its analytics platform SocialSense. The platform mines data from 300 million people, 17 million locations, and 1.5 billion conversations daily, according to Dan Neely, the company’s founder and chief executive officer.

The deeper integration with Twitter through an API enables Networked Insights to pull in more data. “We used to jokingly say we’re drinking through the Twitter straw,” he says. “Now we are drinking through the Twitter garden hose, and eventually we’ll drink through the Twitter fire hose.”

Networked Insights Featured In Business Watch

Member company Networked Insights was featured in Business Watch Magazine and includes a Q&A with founder Dan Neely.  From the article:

Perched high above downtown Madison, Networked Insights, mines 3.5 million conversations a day, totaling over 1 billion annually. Using proprietary software, CEO and founder Dan Neely and his staff are monitoring our online social lives and using what we read, rate, share, link to and write to help businesses make informed decisions on who and what we like … the signal in the massive amount of e-noise. Neely, a native of Liverpool, England, talks with BusinessWatch about how Networked Insights (NI) began, Measuring the Social and how we are all content creators, whether we like it or not.

Networked Insights Lands National Deal, Featured in Techcrunch

Capital Entrepreneurs member Networked Insights signed a deal with International Data Group out of Boston.  From the article:

For marketers, social networks offer a goldmine of data about topics and brands. But there’s actually too much data to easily parse for most companies to get at the most valuable data. That’s why IDG has built Social Scout, a new service powered byNetworked Insights.

The idea is to be able to filter through some of the noise associated with social media. This in turn helps b2b marketers learn what people are saying about brands rather than just that they’re talking about them. “It’s significant that they’ve [IDG] chosen an analytical listening tool over a monitoring tool,” says Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights.