We Got Funded: Social Media Monitoring Startup Crowd Analyzer Raises US$1.1 Million In Funding
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Gone are the days when social media used to be just a communication platform. Business owners today realize that they need to leverage the role of social media as a marketing tool to reach the right people at the right time. And for this, companies need to make sense of all the unstructured data that’s produced by way of conversations on the internet. This activity -popularly referred to as social media listening- is what Dubai-based startup Crowd Analyzer specializes in, and in its endeavor to revolutionize the social media marketing industry, the startup has raised US$1.1 million in a pre-Series A round led by Dubai’s Wamda Capital alongside Kuwaiti VC firms Arzan VC and Faith Capital, and Saudi Arabia’s Raed VC.
Launched in 2013, Crowd Analyzer aims to provide companies across sectors in the Middle East with the “monitoring and analytics tool” they need to grow their businesses. “We are taking solid and steady steps to recruit and hire the right caliber of developers and experts to maintain the standard of our services,” says Ahmed Saad, co-founder and CEO, Crowd Analyzer, commenting on how they intend to make best use of the financial boost. “Also, we are expanding in the region. We already have our head office in Dubai, an office in Cairo, and will soon open an office in Riyadh. The rationale behind this expansion is to stay very close to our clients and prospects in the region,” he adds.
As for how they clinched the investment, Saad says the team followed a practice of “planning and facilitating their fundraising process a year ahead by keeping our investors up to date with our progress and news on a quarterly basis. We reached a point where our investors already know what funds will be allocated for.” The startup, which counts major large corporations as clients across the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other GCC nations, wants to “change how everyone looks at social media,” with their Arabic-focused social media monitoring service.
Having commercially launched in 2017, Crowd Analyzer serves various purposes for companies that employ their servicesfrom monitoring brand reputation, campaign analysis, competitive analysis, crisis spotting, and much more. Reporting a growth of 349% in 2016-2017 (the year of its launch), and a 30% growth rate quarterly in 2018, Saad says the startup is developing their product to cover more functions, and is revenue generating since January 2016. “We made a profit even before raising funds,” he adds.
For the uninitiated, Saad explains social media listening as essentially the collection and monitoring of data relating to a keyword that a company is looking to monitor. This collection of data is done from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, various other social forums, blogs, and news websites, and a tool (such as that of Crowd Analyzer’s) gathers data in real-time, and analyzes it instantly. Admitting that the startup may not necessarily be the only social media listening tool out there in the market, Saad adds that they are proud to be the ones that provide “the most accurate analysis” for Arabic content. “Hence, we are developing a tool that will, and must be used by all enterprises that have customers or prospects on social media. Who’s not on social media anyway?,” rightly asks the entrepreneur.
Ahmed Saad, co-founder and CEO, Crowd Analyzer
Based on your current experience in raising funds, what would be your three top tips for the region’s startups to secure funding for their ventures?
“[First], keep your investors close, and potential investors closer; send them updates to inform them about your business, and keep your company known until it’s ready to receive their funds. [Second], processes are really important. We already have records since 2017, and that is very useful for our fundraising. Keep the documents ready for investors. Our records are very accurate and available all the time. [Finally], keep on developing and growing. You don’t want to help a company [just] survive or [to] keep it safe- you need to validate what these funds are going to be spent on. Something is wrong if you have too much cash, or if you don’t have any cash.”