VoterTide closes seed round, readies its ‘Google Alerts for social media’
VoterTide, a social media monitoring and analysis app focused on politics, announced Tuesday that it closed a "significant seed round" led by Optimas Group, an Omaha investment company. Also participating in the round was Gordon Whitten, who was the Omaha startup's first investor.
Behind Optimas' investment is its managing partner, Doug Wilwerding (below, near left), whom VoterTide co-founder Jimmy Winter (below, far left) said is an asset both as an investor and as a member of the board of directors. Wilwerding, who currently has an active role in politics serving as the finance chair of Don Stenberg's campaign for U.S. Senate, joins Winter and Whitten on the board.
The investment will be used to hire developers in VoterTide's Omaha office and to fill two sales and marketing roles in an anticipated D.C. office. "We're looking for those connected in the Beltway," Winter said.
This seed round also comes with a defined and bigger vision for VoterTide, which Winter founded in October by teaming up with Whitten, founder and former CEO of Sojern, and Winter's business parter, Shannon Schlappi of Kansas City.
"(VoterTide has) a focus on actual campaigns and politicians right now," Winter said, "that's good, it's nice that these campaigns can help use our tool to strategize their social media presence, but the overall long-term vision of this is to be able to understand any type of issue and its presence and share of volume in the social media world."
Winter offered the example of a user tracking gun control. VoterTide will allow a user to track the online mentions of politicians from the floor of the U.S. House of Representative all the way down to the city council members meeting in the public library.
With this information, VoterTide aims to serve not only the offices of politicians or the social media consulting agencies working with politicians – its two main clients currently – but also special interest and lobbying groups.
In the coming weeks, VoterTide will roll out a new feature called VoterTide Alerts, an email and text message alert system to give users an immediate notification if irregular activity occurs in the social media sphere. Winter likens them to Google Alerts for social media, which he said no one in the social media monitoring space is doing yet.
A VoterTide Alert report and text message with an arrow noting when the alert was sent. "We were able to pick up the news of staffers drinking in a congressional office before it exploded and made the round," Winter said.
Currently, VoterTide tracks more than 60 political campaigns and is nearing an early milestone of collecting one billion data points, which include a count of the number of Facebook likes, individuals tweets and Facebook posts.
Winter also added that the Angel Tax Credits enacted in 2011 helped in securing this seed round.