Consider it a high performance buzz-tracker, the jaguar of the social media savannah.
The University of Toronto’s BlogScope research project has spun out a powerful software tool that allows users to slice through and weigh social media chatter: Sysomos chews through terabytes of social media and traditional media in real time to produce easy-to-digest charts and graphs. By contextually analyzing conversations across media, Sysomos brings business intelligence to social media.
Sysomos’ real-time visual output captures geographic and demographic information about the kinds of people out there engaging with a topic and identifies the tone of discussions, automatically categorizing them as positive, negative or neutral in sentiment.
In July 2010, Sysomos was acquired by Marketwire, a leading newswire service that offers press release distribution, media monitoring services and other workflow solutions for communications professionals.
“The rapid changes in communications as a result of social media now make it imperative to immediately understand the impact of outbound messaging: What happens to it, what’s the reaction to it and how is it used to evaluate and strategize future messages?” says Michael Nowlan, Marketwire’s president and CEO. “Sysomos furthers Marketwire’s technological capabilities to make this possible for our clients.”
When Sysomos came to MaRS in 2007, it had been available on the Internet for free for over two years–the Sysomos team approached MaRS for help in advancing their product towards a business model. MaRS advisors helped Sysomos assess the market opportunities by providing research, establishing contacts in the industry and arranging for beta-testing of the product with multinational companies. In 2008, Sysomos secured investment capital and converted a number of beta trials into a final product.
Now profitable with 25 employees, Sysomos has added an impressive set of organizations to its client list, which includes boutique and international agencies, mid-sized companies, and some of the world’s biggest brands such as Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Disney and Shell.
“Our relationship with MaRS was very fruitful. MaRS provided all the business insights that we (as technologists) didn’t have and helped us navigate in a totally new environment that we weren’t exposed to before,” says Nick Koudas, a computer science professor who began the BlogScope project in 2005 with graduate student Nilesh Bansal, co-founder of Sysomos.
Sysomos’ progress is great example of a great technology transitioning from lab to market and, through its partnership with Marketwire, scaling internationally.