Turning tweets into gold

Turning tweets into gold

Summary: With a swag of industry awards under its belt and ambitious plans to expand to America, 2011 is shaping up to be the make-or-break year for local social-media monitoring start-up BuzzNumbers.

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With a swag of industry awards under its belt and ambitious plans to expand to America, 2011 is shaping up to be the make-or-break year for local social-media monitoring start-up BuzzNumbers.

Since Nick Holmes a Court worked by himself to develop prototype social-media monitoring and reporting web software in 2007, BuzzNumbers has grown to a 15-man company with a large stable of customers.

Last year, revenues increased tenfold on the back of signing 50 large enterprise and government customers, according to Holmes a Court, a distant cousin to deceased wealthy Australian businessman Robert Holmes a Court.

There are ambitious goals this year to double the team size and establish offices in Melbourne and Los Angeles, he said.

BuzzNumbers has secured funding from angel investors and a private equity firm, which can't be named, and the company was also bolstered by the appointment of CEO Andy Gent in early 2010.

Gent subsequently hit all the targets for revenue growth and headcount, according to Holmes a Court. Gent also brings valuable experience having headed up Accountability, a part of listed recruitment company Ambition Group, which grew to a headcount of 60 and over $20 million in revenue in less than four years.

For all the company's hard work, BuzzNumbers was last year rewarded with a number of gongs including the inaugural iPitch award, AIIA iAwards, Anthill Smart100 and RedHerring 100 Asia.

Holmes a Court said BuzzNumbers' technology allows businesses to understand social media data.

"Our software delivers real business value in alignment with traditional corporate activities including media monitoring, market research, customer insights, business intelligence, customer service and sales lead generation," he said.

SWOT analysis

Strengths

Developed a unique technology over a number of years and secured a large, growing customer base. Matured beyond early-stage development phase and brought in an experienced corporate manager. Has secured funding from angel investors and a private equity firm.

Weaknesses

Like any growing business, it faces a challenge to not only retain existing customers, but also increase margins despite facing growing competition. It has ambitious growth plans and needs to add customer numbers to support this.

Opportunities

There is a huge appetite for services and technology that make sense of the deluge of social media data.

Threats

The competition in social-media monitoring and reporting is fiercely growing.

Conclusion

Although the the market will be flooded with competition this year, BuzzNumbers faces a daunting task to achieve a new level of growth in Melbourne and the US. However, the company's already grown beyond initial idea phase, becoming a huge success in terms of revenues and it also has the support of angel investors and private equity.

VERDICT: BOOM

Topics: Social Enterprise, Start-Ups

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