Affinio, the Halifax-based company that uses social media analysis to identify communities for marketers, has raised a $4 million Series A venture capital round led by Whitecap Venture Partners of Toronto.
The other members of the investment group are Halifax-based Build Ventures – which was the lone investor in Affinio’s $1.5 million seed round two years ago – New York-based Social Starts, New York-based BRaVeVentures , and several angel investors. The company said the round was over-subscribed and it turned interested investors away.
Founded twoyears ago by serial entrepreneurs Tim Burke and Stephen Hankinson, Affinio is an advanced database technology that allows low-cost, real-time processing of social network graphs to determine how every person on the web is connected. It mines publicly available social media posts and other business data to find people who are connected by common interests, experiences or networks. That allows the user to identify communities and people with common interests, which helps to find potential customers, employees or supporters.
“The challenge of accurate and effective customer targeting is being won through new and highly-intelligent approaches to segmentation and characterization,” Whitecap Partner Joe Catalfamo said in a statement. “In this context, Affinio’s rapidly growing customer base and measurably impressive results for brands and agencies shows unusually rapid market traction for its unique content-driven approach.”
Catalfamo, who will join the Affinio board, is no stranger to Atlantic Canadian startups as he invested in Radian6 of Fredericton, which later sold out to Salesforce.com for $326 million.
Affinio has used its seed funding to good use, as its revenues have grown by double digits in each month since it launched its product last October. Its clients include such global companies as BBC
Worldwide, SABMiller, and L’Oréal.
"Affinio is the most exciting thing I've seen in 10 years of looking into social data and the only one that's genuinely insightful," said BBC Worldwide EVP Insights David Boyle in the statement distributed by Affinio.
In an interview, Burke said the 16-employee company will use the new funds, which it expects to last about 24 months, for both sales and product development.
“It will be heavy on the sales side,” said Burke. “On the back of this, we’re growing out our inside sales team and will place a heavy emphasis on agency sales.”
In product development, he said the company will emphasize R&D from a machine learning perspective with goal of pinpointing what content resonates with specific communities.
Burke has previously described himself as a “parallel entrepreneur”, that is, someone who works on several projects simultaneously. But he now says his full-time focus is on Affinio due to the strong demand and growth.
The Affinio funding is the latest example of an Atlantic Canadian startup this year announcing a multi-million-dollar VC funding round. Since St. John’s-based Celtex announced a $3.3 million in a round led by Build in January, other big VC announcements have included: RtTech Software of Moncton raised $3 million in February; CarbonCure Technologies of Halifax raised $3 million in May; and Fredericton- and Washington-based Introhive closed a Series B Round of financing worth US$7.2 million (C$9.2 million) in July.
Another interesting tidbit about the funding: of the five Atlantic Canadian companies in Build Ventures’ portfolio, two (Introhive and Affinio) have raised follow-on funding this year. (Disclaimer: Build is a client of Entrevestor.)