Archive for the ‘international expansion’ tag
Social media management services are big business at the moment, with Oracle and Salesforce snapping up a number of properties in the last couple of months. And now, in their wake, Hootsuite, one of the larger independent social media management companies, is expanding internationally. A new headquarters opening today in central London will be Hootsuite’s first office outside of its home base of North America — specifically Vancouver, Canada.
The news comes on the heels of HootSuite reportedly looking to raise $50 million at a $500 million valuation in May 2012, with the company more officially picking up $20 million at a $200 million valuation in April. Taken with Oracle’s acquisitions that included Vitrue for $300 million, and Salesforce’s buys that have included Buddy Media for $800 million, all this points to several players honing in on a business opportunity to meet the enterprise’s need to get a grip on social media.
First off in London, HootSuite will be hiring 24 people — sales and support staff — with plans to double that to about 50 by the end of 2013. The company says that it is currently growing at a rate of about 300 percent annually and is hiring at a rate of about six people per month. It currently has over 150 employees.
HootSuite made its name with software that enterprises use to monitor and engage on big social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But more recently it has been expanding the number of other social networks that it covers in its service. In June it added Instagram, content sharing network SlideShare, document-focused app edocr, and engagement app Zuum to its dashboard.
Because it offers a free version of its product as well as paid, premium versions, HootSuite has picked up a sizeable user base so far — some 3.5 million companies use its products, its CEO Ryan Holmes told me back in May. That includes small businesses of 1-2 people, but also McDonalds, PepsiCo, Sony Music and more.
Part of its current expansion strategy will be to forge more links with agencies as well as brands, Holmes said today in a statement. This is where London, which is with New York a major center for digital advertising, fits in: ”London’s agency culture is what attracted us to this market,” he said. “It has been a big advantage to moving here as it opens up access to a wide variety of people who have experience working in these closely networked business structures.” London is headquarters to 85 of the top 100 interactive agencies in the world.
The release put out today by UK Trade & Investment and the Mayor of London’s office name-drops the Olympics, now starting in less than two weeks, as part of the drive here, too: “During Games-time it is my mission to ensure that visiting business leaders recognise all world class credentials so even more companies decide London is the top choice for their investment,” said Mayor Boris Johnson in a statement. However, for HootSuite that would be more about potentially offering on the ground support to existing customers rather than using it as a vehicle to pick up more clients.
The tech-skills-hub startup General Assembly recently opened its London office — its first outside of the U.S. — as well, and it too had some support from government behind it. That wasn’t in the form of financial support but a strong endorsement that could open doors for GA as it grows its business. It may be a similar case with support for HootSuite, too, which officially has been “supported in their move to London” by the UKTI as well as London & Partners, which is funded by the Mayor’s office.
Bringing in an estimated $139.5 million in advertising revenue in 2011 and employing a model made for mobile, Twitter’s greatest obstacle in ramping up revenue is the limited availability of its Promoted Products, which are currently available in the U.S., UK, Japan, and Canada.
Expect that to change — and soon. In the second half of 2012, the information network will expand the number of countries where Promoted Products are available to nearly 50, Twitter’s president of global revenue Adam Bain said today at a press conference at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Specifically, Twitter has its eyes on Europe. The information network will next make its Promoted Products, the suite of tools that offer advertisers additional exposure to Twitter users on web and mobile, available in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat. Latin American and Caribbean countries are also on the immediate roadmap.
The massive international expansion has giant implications for Twitter’s business. Today, 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue comes from the U.S., with other countries contributing just $26 million to its ad revenue this year, according to estimates from eMarketer. In 2012, the company’s ad revenue is expected to grow 86.3 percent to $259.9 million.
Photo credit: @TroyHolden/Twitter
Filed under: social
Bonjour, Amazon App Store! The e-commerce company announced today that developers will soon be able to sell their apps in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany.
The Amazon App Store, which currently serves both the company’s own Kindle Fire tablet as well as the overall Android market, will open the store internationally this summer, and is already supplying tools to prepare developers for international expansion. Existing Android users abroad will be able to use the marketplace as soon as it opens, but the expansion hints at an international version of the Kindle Fire. Amazon reported net sales of $13.18 billion in the first quarter of 2012, but didn’t give many details on the Fire. That is, other than saying it is the company’s “bestselling, most gifted, and most wished” for product.
Developers should sign into the Mobile App Distribution Portal to prepare for the global move. Those already in Amazon’s developer program will by default have their apps available for sale in these new countries. Apps do not have to be sold in all six countries, however. Using the localized tools, you can choose which countries you’d like your app to appear in, as well as set prices for that country and other specifics.
Given Amazon’s recent move to in-app purchases, the company is also changing its revenue share terms. Developers with paid apps in any country will be paid 70 percent of the app’s list price. Prior to now, paid-app developers were given either 70 percent of the sales from that app, or 20 percent of the list price, whichever raked in more cash. This change will begin July 1.
Amazon plans to make the marketplace available to more countries in the near future.
Filed under: mobile
Square is now processing $6 billion in annual payments and has its sights set on international expansion. The company has more than 1 million accounts accepting credit cards.
“Square was founded on a commitment to help people start and grow their business,” Friar said, in a statement. “I’m thrilled to join a company driving meaningful economic growth while revolutionizing the payment experience for consumers.”
Prior to this position, Friar served as senior VP of finance and strategy at Salesforce for a little over a year. Before that, Friar was a hotshot software analyst for Goldman Sachs for more than 10 years.
Filed under: mobile
While it used to fly straight ahead, Twitter’s new bird logo has its beak held high, representing a company ready to take off, not just cruise on. Bloomberg’s sources close to Twitter said the company expects to generate $1 billion in sales in 2014, almost double eMarketer’s prediction, so it’s fitting that the Twitter bird is looking skyward and has a new professional haircut. The redesigned bird replaces both the old bird as well any “T” or bubbled typeface “Twitter” logos. It will automatically be pushed to all official Twitter buttons, but sites may want to update any static Twitter logos they display.
And if you wanted to read entirely too much into the redesign, you could say the sharper, aerodynamic 3-feather design represents Twitter’s improved speed and reliability. No bloated fail whale here.
The company seems optimistic about the money it will make as it completes the roll out its self-serve ad buying interface for purchasing Promoted Tweets, Accounts, and Trends. But Twitter will have to be careful not to overrun its site and apps with ads, or engagement could take a nose dive.
eMarketer has a more conservative estimate for Twitter’s sales growth, predicting $540 million in 2014, but that’s still more than double the forecaster’s $259.9 million expectation for 2012.
But these estimates may not take into account a strong new competitor in the interest graph space: Facebook Subscribe, which has used its massive network size and time-on-site to drive tens of thousands of followers to influencers. If receiving updates from thought leaders and celebrities in the news feed is more convenient, existing Facebook users might be less likely to start a new account on Twitter.
Twitter has plans for international expansion and promotion, though, which could make sure it doesn’t have to squeeze its current flock of 140 million active users too hard.
And one last fun fact about the design: “This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles” says Twitter, as you can see in the video below.
Fab.com’s international expansion continues, and this morning, the social shopping site is arriving in its 20th market: Canada. The additional market follows Fab’s European expansion 13 more countries across Europe last month, which then brought Fab to 16 countries worldwide. Since then, it has also added Sweden, Poland and Cyrus to the list.
According to Fab CEO Jason Goldberg, customer demand for Canada was already fairly high, and Fab expects the region to soon account for at least 5% of revenue. Currently, 3%-5% of Fab.com traffic is from that Canada, despite Fab not having shipped there until now.
At launch, over 80% of Fab’s products will ship to Canada at a $10 flat rate. The new Canadian members will use the Fab.com domain. Meanwhile, overseas, customers are still directed to Fab.de. This, however, will change in August, when all of Fab is brought under the “Fab.com” umbrella.
Given Fab’s rapid expansion – launching in country #20 in less than a year – it was a good time to take a look at some of its other data. This morning, Goldberg also gave us pulled up some new data to highlight Fab’s growth, noting that the company now has 3.8 million members worldwide, up from 1.5 million at the beginning of the year. 1 million of its members are now outside of the U.S.
Fab.com customers have purchased 1.8 million products so far this year, equal to 3.5 products per minute. And Fab.de is now doing $75,000-$80,000 sales per day, up from $10, 000 following its entry in the market through its acquisition of Cassacanda.
Fab also just launched a major site redesign this month to focus users’ attention more on social shopping and less on the flash sales elements. Early indications are that it’s working, with more orders per day following the changes. The number one indication that someone will buy from Fab is their engagement with the site’s social features, says Goldberg. iPhone users are 2 times more likely to buy than others, iPad users are 4 times more likely to buy, but Fab social users are nearly 10 times more likely to buy. They also explore deeper into the site than before, when 75% of sales came from daily sales – now just 50% do.
Goldberg also says that Fab is now on track to reach $140 million in sales worldwide by year-end (up from $100M in March) but that calculation didn’t take into account the addition of Canada or Fab’s further growth in Europe.
News of Machinima’s new funding first surfaced earlier this month. Google’s involvement marks the first time the company has spent money on the production of content. Previously, it had focused its money on attracting original programming for its YouTube or promoting those programs across its network.
Machinima is one of the most popular YouTube partners. The production company focuses on making videos about video games and players, and it has done extremely well on YouTube. Its YouTube channel brings in over a billion video views per month (1.5 billion in March 2012). And while this new funding may seem like a great deal for Machinima, it make end up angering other YouTube partners that already feel like Machinima’s channels were getting preferential treatment on YouTube from Google.
The new capital will be used to expand its content, global sales operations, international expansion, grow its distribution, and more. In addition to Google, the round included participation from existing investors Redpoint Ventures and MK Capital. Founded in 2008, the Los Angeles, Calif.-based startup has raised a total of $49.6 million in funding to date.
Photo via Greg Aronowitz
For those of you who made it along to our D2 event last month, you’ll recall we discussed the incredibly rapid growth of Pintrest as a platform. The site is currently raising $120 million to fund international expansion, which means we’re expecting to see a big jump in the old problem of brandjacking.
Even if it’s too soon for you to decide whether your company wants to build a presence on Pintrest yet, it is well worth ‘reserving’ your brand space there anyway. Even if you don’t want to actively pin at the moment, to beat the cybersquatters you could simply post a hello message with a URL back to your main site for the time being, and at least you won’t have problems claiming it later.
While I’m at it, here are a couple of pintrest hits which amused me when I searched for ‘Energy saving’. Happy Friday.
MoboTap‘s popular Dolphin Browser has racked up over 16 million downloads worldwide, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking steps to expand internationally.
The company announced earlier this morning that they have entered into a new agreement with Japanese wireless carrier KDDI that will see their browser pre-loaded on a number of new Android handsets going forward.
KDDI is Japan’s second-largest wireless carrier with nearly 35 million subscribers under their belts, with just about 20% of those users owning smartphones. All things considered, it’s a big chance for MoboTap to bolster their brand outside the confines of the United States.
MoboTap and Dolphin are no strangers to the Japanese market — they teamed up with Softbank in 2011 — but MoboTap views this new partnership with KDDI as a critical part of their international expansion plans for 2012. MoboTap marketing head Edith Yeung tells me a deal like this has been a long time coming (representatives from the two companies first met at Disrupt 2011), and that they are “putting a lot of energy” into making a similar splash in markets like China and South Korea.
It’s worth noting that KDDI handles new handset releases a little differently than we do here in the States. Instead of unveiling new handsets in drips and drabs, the carrier reveals all the phones they will release within that period all at once every season — their Summer 2012 collection was just revealed last night, and I’m told that some of those devices will be the first to ship with the Dolphin browser pre-loaded.
But why Dolphin? What was wrong with the stock Android browser? According to Kazuhito Shimizu, KDDI’s head of U.S. operations, customization was their main concern. By loading up Dolphin’s default list of bookmarks with links to their own services, KDDI hopes that they’ll have a better handle on the end-to-end user experience.
“We believe that the browser will be the first touchpoint for the customer to access our services and content,” Shimizu said.
Dolphin and KDDI aren’t exactly strangers to each other at this point — the popular third-party browser was added to KDDI’s au Smart Pass subscription app service back in March, with a handful of Japanese tweaks in tow. Sadly, among those tweaks is the exclusion of their recently-revealed Sonar voice-controlled browsing feature, though I’m told MoboTap is currently working on getting Japanese support up and running before too long.
The company says its technology works through a regular webcam, allowing market researchers to gather data quickly and affordably. You can run the test before you spend money on a campaign, or test how well the advertising works once it’s live, and how it performed in different formats and sites. Customers include big tech companies such as Google, AOL, and Microsoft, as well as P&G and JCDeacaux.
One of the other features touted on the EyeTrackShop site is the ability to test advertising in multiple countries simultaneously. The company says it will use the new money on international expansion, and on product development, too.
EyeTrackShop spun out of eye-tracking company Tobii Technologies in 2010.
A Y Combinator-backed startup called GazeHawk was trying to accomplish something similar, but its team was acquired by Facebook in March, and it looks like the GazeHawk product (which was not acquired) remains in limbo.