The rising tide of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites continues to lift enterprise boats: today, Falcon Social, a social media management platform based out of Copenhagen, announced a €6 million ($ 8 million) round of funding that it will use to push into the U.S. and add more features to its dashboard, which currently lets users collaborate and preview content as it will look across different social media platforms, and then monitor how it is performing in real-time.
This Series A round is being led by Munich-based Target Partners, VCs that have a decent track record of exits in its portfolio, including energy management compay JouleX selling to Cisco earlier this year, and German gaming startup Scoreloop selling to BlackBerry in 2011 (at a time when the handset maker was in warm, but not quite hot, water the way that it is now).
The social media management space — companies that have created software so that brands and other businesses can better use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and so on to market themselves — is a relatively new area but it’s one that is growing rapidly. There have been a number of big exits and investments of date, with Salesforce, Oracle, Google and others all snapping up their shares of social media management companies like Buddy Media, Vitrue and Wildfire; and big independents like Hootsuite continue to raise monster rounds of funding to keep growing.
In that context, the big question is where a smaller and newer player like Falcon Social fits into the mix. Ulrik Bo Larsen, CEO and founder of Falcon Social, says that while many of these bigger players are clearly showing that social media management is now big business, they are also unable to innovate as quickly as a company like his at the scale they are at now.
“The competitive landscape is in flux to a certain extent,” he said in an interview. “You see a lot of players in this space checking out or going bankrupt
others being acquired. The way we look at the market we primarily compete with the few that are left and the few ‘frankensuites’ — the large marketing services offerings that have grown by way of acquisition.”
Larsen contends that in fact a lot of the acquisitions in the space have been of “one-trick ponies” that have been put together in a way to “be perceived as suites.”
But he says the bottom line is that the bigger solutions are not integrated, and are therefore complex to use by those who are interested in using a single platform to do all social media marketing, from managing interactions through to bigger posts and pushing advertising. Falcon Social, he notes, is being natively built with everything integrated at its core. “That’s why we tend to win against these other companies when we bid against them,” he said.
He also said that there is something to be said for ease of use for younger enterprise users — another sign of the consumerization trend in enterprise. “The way we do user interface is much more compelling to marketers,” he added.
“The Facebook generation is doing social media marketing, and they won’t tolerate old tools. They want something that is integrated but is a great looking product,” David Carratt, a board member at Falcon Social, told me.
Interestingly, it looks like some brands are also starting to agree. In the last year Falcon has signed on Swarovski, Orangina Schweppes, Stena Line, Deutsche Telekom AG, Warner Music, Conde Nast and First Hotel Group among its customers — picking up 73 new businesses in the first of of 2013.
The Series A getting announced today follows a seed investment from the end of 2012, $ 1.33 million from Danish VC NorthCap Venture Partners, which also participated in this latest round.