Social TV startup Mass Relevance merges with Spredfast

written by: Richard Kastelein

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spredfastlogoSpredfast, the leading provider of social relationship platforms for large brands and agencies, and Mass Relevance, the technology leader in enabling social marketing experiences for brands and media companies, announced today that they are merging. The new entity will offer marketers the only seamless solution to manage, monitor and integrate social content across any digital screen.

Now marketers can access every piece of social data submitted, in real-time. With this data, they uncover conversations that matter to their brand and build shared experiences that enable them to interact with their audience, both one-to-one or one-to-many. In turn, their audience can impact, shape and advance the brand.

“Keeping up with the speed of social is a lofty challenge for marketers and media today. Consumers continue to raise the bar for how they want to engage with brands. Amidst a sea of social chatter, brands must find the right moments to interact with their audience, and move faster than ever to deliver their stories,” said Rod Favaron, CEO of Spredfast. "The combination of Spredfast and Mass Relevance give brands an unparalleled ability to stay on top of market trends, and be smarter about how to engage customers in social experiences that build lasting relationships.”

Social media has forever changed the way marketers interact with consumers. With the speed and scale of innovation in social technology, consumer attention has become fragmented and fleeting. Brands and media companies are challenged to understand their audiences, and maintain relevancy and engagement. To combat this obstacle, it has become crucial for companies to weave social into the DNA of their marketing and advertising.

“We built Mass Relevance to connect relevant conversations from social networks and fuse them into a customer's brand story. Three years later, we are honored to align with our neighbors, another Austin-based company, to complete the circle of bringing audience participation into every aspect of marketing,” said Sam Decker, CEO and CoFounder of Mass Relevance. “The combination of Spredfast and Mass Relevance opens up new possibilities for our customers to do more with social content in real-time.”

In just over three years, both companies have led their respective industries with tremendous growth. Combined, they are the only software provider to partner with over 600 customers, including all five major broadcast networks and fifty percent of Interbrand’s 2013 World’s Best Brands, secure elevated access to both Twitter and Facebook data through strategic partnerships, manage over one billion brand social connections across 84 countries, drive more than 15 billion monthly impressions, and have the power to process 650 million pieces of social content per day in multiple languages.

“Spredfast and Mass Relevance together provide an unmatched, comprehensive product solution necessary for any marketer to succeed in today’s always on and ever-changing social environment,” said Mike Dodd, Partner at Austin Ventures and founding investor in both companies. “These two companies and their highly effective leadership teams have been a critical part of the Austin technology landscape and their continued growth as one entity will be a defining factor in this community.”

The Spredfast platform allows marketers to plan, publish and manage daily brand engagement with consumers across all major social networks. The Mass Relevance platform allows companies to create and publish unique social experiences across any digital screen, from owned properties to display ads and broadcast television. The new, integrated suite of products will deliver the unique capabilities brands, media companies, and agencies need to market at the speed of life.

“I have not seen any two companies move the social marketing industry further or faster than Mass Relevance and Spredfast,” said Michael Scafaldi, Director of Digital Marketing Operations at PepsiCo. “Both companies have incredible leadership and equally impressive teams and together, they are going to be unstoppable.”

The combined company will be headquartered in Austin, Texas and it will operate under the name Spredfast. The executive management team will continue to be led by current Spredfast Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Rod Favaron. Sam Decker, CEO and Co-Founder of Mass Relevance, will join the Board of Directors and serve as Executive Advisor to the new company. Spredfast will serve over 600 brands and media companies, with 350 employees and offices in Austin, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, London and Sydney.

Adage reports more:

Spredfast appears to be the dominant party: Spredfast CEO Rod Favaron will become CEO at the combined company, which will operate under the Spredfast name, while Mass Relevance CEO Sam Decker will join the board of directors and serve as an executive advisor without a day-to-day operational role.

Mr. Favaron characterized the deal as "putting together like-sized companies." Mass Relevance stock will be converted into Spredfast stock, but the new company isn't disclosing its valuation.

As separate entities, Spredfast and Mass Relevance had very different expertise in the world of social marketing.
Mass Relevance's niche has been curation. Its technology lets brands and the four biggest TV networks gather and display social content on TV -- on shows like "American Idol" and "The X Factor," for example -- as well as on outdoor displays and online. Those tools will continue to be known under the Mass Relevance brand, and the curation business will continue to operate.

From the Spredfast blog:

Both Mass Relevance and Spredfast are leaders in our respective industries. We’ve both grown at incredible rates over the past three years. Today, we are joining forces to grow together as one company that will meet all the social marketing needs for brands, media companies and agencies.

By teaming up, we’ll give marketers access to every piece of social data submitted in real-time, so they can uncover conversations that matter to their brand and build shared experiences that allow them to interact with their audience, both one-to-one and one-to-many. In turn, their audiences can impact, shape and advance the brand.

Why are we so excited about this announcement? In short, we want to keep you ahead of what it takes to engage audiences, and we believe our combined solutions are a match made in…. Austin, Texas. Our offices are just 8 blocks apart in beautiful downtown Austin, and we share very similar values and culture. It was a natural fit to join forces to pursue our shared passion of transforming the marketing industry.

From the Mass Relevance blog:

Marketing is about NOW, and now more than ever. That’s a real challenge for digital leaders. In conversations with over a hundred digital marketing experts, I’ve heard similar questions repeated for years. Questions such as, “How do I reach my target audience and stay on top of trends? How do you adapt to their conversation? How do I use social media to engage my customers in real-time - whether it is one to one or one to many? How do I engage customers across any digital screen?”

By merging the Spredfast and Mass Relevance functionality and innovation roadmap, we’re making it easy for any brand or media company to engage any audience anywhere in meaningful ways. As CEO and a career marketer, I’m excited to play a role in putting these two huge puzzle pieces together.

I’ve known Rod Favaron, CEO of Spredfast, and his fellow executives for years. What we do is immensely complementary to Spredfast (let us show you a demo!). We have taken a big step forward in giving you deeper social discovery capabilities, as well as incredibly powerful curation and digital display capabilities. Now you can connect your social efforts across all digital touchpoints, and throughout your company.

The combined company will be called Spredfast. You will see some additional changes over the next 90 days. Rod Favaron will be leading the charge as CEO, and I will join the board of directors and serve as executive advisor. 

Sam Decker

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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