After the takeover of French TV Tweet, Canadian Seevibes raises $ 1 million to grow in Europe
Three years after its creation, Seevibes, which specializes in measuring the “social audience” of television, announces a fundraising of one million dollars. This Montreal start-up made its debut in France with the takeover of TvTweet last November in the context of a booming market, but also increasingly competitive.
On April 1, Twitter itself bought the French start-up Mesagraph which develops audience analysis solutions and conversations generated by programs on social networks, thus securing contracts between the start-up and French channels. Interview with Laurent Maisonnave, the founder of Seevibes.
Frenchweb: How do you position yourself in relation to the competition, and how do you plan to face it with these new funds?
Laurent Maisonnave (founder of Seevibes): The international consolidation of the market in recent months is an excellent thing. It gives even more visibility and credibility to the sector. Seevibes is proud to be one of the privileged partners who work closely with Twitter, both in Europe and in North America.
Measuring television audiences on social networks is just one part of the solution that Seevibes offers to media and advertising professionals. Advertisers look for integrated marketing strategies while making the most of the large advertising investments they make on television. It is for this reason that we invest a lot in R&D, in order to develop the best product that makes the link between television and social networks for advertising campaigns.
The objective of Seevibes in 2014 is to develop our presence in the largest European markets, France, England and Germany in the lead, on which we already have projects. It is also a question of recruiting talents to increase the team of 16 people today to 30 people in the coming year. We are also continuing to develop strategic partnerships, such as with Followatch last March and Havas Média for the social rating point (SRP).
This fundraising of $ 1 million was carried out with Polytech Ventures, which is entering, and your historic shareholders Real Ventures and Bryan Freeman. How did the round table go and what is the new composition of the capital? Do you remain in the majority?
In mid 2013, Seevibes’ activity was doing very well in Canada. Customer feedback was very positive and we felt we were ahead of the game in understanding market needs. He then asked himself the question of expanding our activity internationally. This is what brought me to meet the various players in Europe, including Mesagraph and TvTweet in France. For TvTweet, you know the happy ending with an acquisition of their activities in November 2013, and Thomas Landspurg who takes the technological direction of Seevibes.
At the same time, we were contacted by Polytech Ventures, the investment fund supported by EPFL – École Polytechnique de Lausanne. They were looking to invest in a startup that masters the world of media, brands, social networks and with a strong technological sound. Seevibes fulfilled all the criteria.
We saw the opportunity to accelerate our developments in Europe while benefiting from synergy in the field of R&D with EPFL. For the record, Seevibes made the choice from day one to develop its developments in the Scala language, which was invented in the EPFL laboratories. The circle is complete. When we went back to our historical investors, Real Ventures and Bryan Freeman, to explain our international ambitions to them, they immediately renewed their confidence in us.
Aren’t you worried about being too dependent on Twitter?
It’s no more risky than the thousands of companies that use social media data. We have a very good relationship with Twitter because we understand their business model and help them sell their ads better.
Ultimately, despite the recent news from the network, there is no decrease in the number of users, but a decrease in the rise in Twitter usage. Which is a good thing, because they have reached a certain level of maturity and we see it in our numbers: the frequency of use has been multiplied. Each advertiser must choose their social network according to their target. On Twitter, he won’t touch grandmothers, that’s for sure. But it will be able to reach a targeted audience, but more and more active and engaged.
What is effective today for a campaign?
One of the main concerns of advertisers is to optimize their budget to do better with less. An effective marketing strategy is to approach the different communication media as a whole, not separately. If one in two viewers shares their attention with a second screen in the living room, that means that 50% of the money invested in TV advertising goes into the trash if the spot is not designed to be multiscreen. Adapting the message for each medium is evident today fairly well mastered by advertisers and their agencies. But, does the advertising sent on Facebook and Twitter complement what the consumer sees at the same time on television?
Context is very important for a message to be well received by a consumer. Seevibes has the data to ensure that the advertising message sent on social networks arrives at the right time, and especially that it is adapted to the context of television consumption. We help advertisers send the right message to the right person, at the right time, in the right context.
What rates do you charge? What are advertisers buying?
The majority of Seevibes customers subscribe to tools in SaaS mode. We are also very open to working ad hoc on specific projects to analyze the social audience of television and brands. Finally, we have partners who use our data through Note API to enrich their marketing or business intelligence application.
What is the outlook for the two- to three-year TV program social audience analysis market?
As I pointed out earlier, social TV audience analysis is a part of Seevibes’ offering, as is our ability to detect audience affinity with brands. It sounds simple on paper, but over the last year Seevibes has analyzed and enriched 1 billion social interactions from Facebook and Twitter. “Beyond the numbers, our customers appreciate that we provide them with understandable and actionable data. Information that helps them earn more money or optimize their advertising investments.
Seevibes’ long-term vision is clear: every time an advertiser invests 100 euros in television, 10 euros will go through Seevibes to boost the campaign on social networks. We have experienced investors to support us and a great team to succeed.