About a year ago, we first wrote about CivicScience, an online polling startup based in Pittsburgh that had just raised $1.2 million in seed funding from research firm The NPD Group, national polling company ALR, and The McClatchy Company director Kevin McClatchy, among others. Since then, the company has been busy expanding the number of publishing partners who use its polling widgets, which in turn has dramatically increased the number of users taking its polls, which makes its data all the more valuable.
Now it has raised an additional $2.86 million from Boston-based New Atlantic Ventures, as well as big media publisher Cox Enterprises. Along with the investment, New Atlantic founder and managing partner Todd Hixon will be joining the startup’s board. And Cox has begun deploying CivicScience polls across its digital properties.
CivicScience’s polling platform works like this: Publishers can license its platform for free, and plug its polls into their websites through a widget or API. Once in place, CivicScience collects data from all the various users who take those polls on third-party websites, social networks, or mobile platforms. Sounds simple enough, but in addition to poll answers, CivicScience also collects a fair amount of anonymous user data, which allows it to adapt to the user. That also lets it provide very deep analysis of user sentiment and trends in the market.
The startup then takes that data and sells it to a number of third parties. That includes brands, advertisers and political groups who use the data to measure the effectiveness of their ads, messaging, or campaigning efforts. It also includes financial institutions and research firms that use the data to pinpoint emerging trends for their own clients.
CivicScience hopes to provide value to both publishers and its research clients: On the one hand, CivicScience provides deep analytics and audience measurement tools to publishers, who can use that data in its negotiations with advertisers to increase CPMs. On the other side of the equation, CivicScience has a platform to provide syndicated and custom research from the data it collects from its partner sites.
Cox’s interest in the startup is strategic, as it will be rolling out CivicScience polls across its network of sites and also will be a client of its research services. Cox joins media companies like Scripps Digital, McClatchy, Hearst, the NY Daily News, and hundreds of other web publishers.
UPDATE: CivicScience has a history of putting out hilarious press releases. Here’s the latest. Good to know the company doesn’t take itself too seriously.