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Innovation

Unified lands $14 million for social enterprise tech

Unified hopes to attract major advertisers and their agencies with a platform that it says helps them extract ROI from social media efforts.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor on

Unified, a bicoastal startup that makes social enterprise marketing technology for brands and agencies, announced Thursday that it secured $14 million in financing.

The funds come partly from an equity investment from Advance Publications -- that's the company behind Wired, Ars Technica, Vanity Fair and Vogue -- and partly from a debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank.

The company says it will use the money to continue work on its so-called "social operating platform," acquire new talent and expand its sales force. Its customers have included Microsoft, Samsung, GE and BMW.

The platform is a cloud-based social marketing offering geared toward helping marketers interact with audiences on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, YouTube and LinkedIn, and with luck, boost sales.

In other words, the usual social enterprise thing.

Unified is so named because it aims to streamline communication across the various platforms, automate certain processes, measure virality of campaigns, and -- ultimately -- quantify actual return on investment. In the Wild West of social media, it's been a frustratingly elusive goal for businesses in all industries as they've tried to justify the expense of being where their customers are online.

The most interesting part of this news is who's buying. Advance, a publisher like ZDNet's parent CBS Interactive, has a deep roster of product-focused brands -- perhaps not Ars so much as Glamour, Lucky and GQ -- with readers to match. It no doubt hopes it can continue fostering that connection with them through this tech.

"Social has effectively become the core vehicle for consumer interaction and our advertisers have demanded viral results across the Internet and on mobile platforms," Advance SVP Andrew Siegel said.

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