Sprout Social snags new funding, continues to shake up social media management

Sprout Social snags new funding, continues to shake up social media management

It is a particular pleasure to watch a company that you rooted for in the beginning start to take giant steps.

It seems like it was just a few days ago that I judged Justyn’s new baby Sprout Social at a Chicago technology meetup. Small project no more, Sprout Social just landed a sizable $10 million series B round from New Enterprise Associates. The round valued the company at $50 million.

In case you didn’t know, Sprout Social is an up and coming social media management tool for brands. Whenever we have covered them in the past, it has always been with a glowing nod in their direction. Even better, in the classic style of a Mid-West startup, Sprout Social has a solid business model.

That said, the last time I checked in with its CEO some time ago, Sprout Social was not profitable. The company was in the process of staffing up at a dramatic rate, so it was perhaps not that fair of a time to ask. Whatever their burn rate, with the new money in the bank, Sprout Social surely has miles of runway. When we last wrote about the company, this is what we had to say:

[W]ith growing revenues, a crack engineering team, and more positive press than Obama two years ago, Sprout Social is perhaps the next big Chicago success story.

It seems that at least New Enterprise Associates agreed with us.

What exactly is social media management? It is the process of handling and interacting with current customers, working to find new ones, and then tracking your success rates. Obviously, this sort of product is targeted at businesses.

Then again, if you are a giant narcissist (read: writer) you can use it track your personal brand if there is enough noise around it.

For the socially inclined business, such a service is invaluable. That said, Sprout Social has serious competition. Companies that you have heard of, like Hootsuite, offer services that overlap, meaning that Sprout Social has to swim fast or get carried off by the current. Then again, the market that they are attacking is growing rapidly enough that there might be room for several players.

We talked to Sprout Social about their brass tacks numbers, and this is what we were told:

  • The company is seeing 50% month over month subscriber growth in the most recent quarter.
  • Since September 2010, the company has tripled its monthly uniques.
  • Around 80% of the company’s users access the site multiple times a day.

Sprout Social is a company on their way up, and they are doing it outside the Valley. As TNW’s Mid-West editor, this is the kind of story that I love to write.

Disclosure: Sprout Social started advertising on TNW around a month ago, far after we started to cover them.

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