Synthesio to Put $20M Round Towards New Hires & California Expansion

This seems to be the age of helping marketers better understand data from social media.

New York-based Synthesio, a developer of software for analyzing comments about brands in the social sphere, recently said it raised $20 million in a Series B round led by Idinvest Partners.

With that new funding, the company plans double its staff to more than 150 by early 2015, says CEO and co-founder Loic Moisand. Synthesio, which was founded in 2006, also wants to open a California office, most likely in San Francisco. In addition to New York, the company has offices in London, Paris, and Singapore.

Synthesio’s software is used by brands that want to know the pulse of digital conversations across review sites, blogs, and social media networks. If a customer of a wireless company says on Twitter that they lost their signal yet again, Synthesio’s software identifies the tweet and sends it to the person who’s supposed to respond.

But the software does not just monitor the most commonly known social networks. “If you’re a brand, you need to listen to your customers wherever they are on the social sphere,” Moisand says.

That can include obscure forums that companies may not be aware of. Synthesio’s software uses an algorithm to detect new sites and forums, he says. “When it comes to new social networks, we wait a few months to see the traction it gets [before adding them],” Moisand says.

Measuring customer satisfaction through social media can be a challenge for brands, Moisand says, without some extra technical expertise. Synthesio has developed a scoring system that helps gauge customer satisfaction from digital sources, and brands can even tie the scores to bonuses for their staff.

“If a marketing team ran a social media campaign that gets pretty bad results,” Moisand says, “they won’t get their bonuses.”

As Synthesio plans to expand, it faces a highly competitive future. The social media analytics market is becoming increasingly crowded with companies such as Dataminr, SnakBlox, and Quid dissecting similar information.

Moisand believes the international approach at Synthesio sets it apart—the software covers social media in some 50 languages from more than 200 countries, including Chinese, Arabic, and Portuguese, Moisand says. “We’re strong at [working] in languages the other guys don’t really cover,” he says.

Knowing what customers are saying in other countries, he says, means connecting to local social networks. “In China, there are dozens of them,” Moisand says. “In Russia, there is an equivalent to Facebook called VKontakte. In Brazil, it’s Orkut.”

Some brands, Moisand says, have been surprised to discover their biggest fans among consumers come from unlikely places. For example, a high-end watchmaker learned through Synthesio that it had a large segment of customers amongst auto aficionados—and that changed the company’s thinking about how to sell its products.

“It was much better for them to run a marketing campaign towards this community than to people who were experts in watches,” Moisand says.

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