Radius (formerly Fwix), a startup that gives sales people the tools and data they need to scout local businesses, is announcing $12.4 million in new funding from American Express with Comcast Ventures, Western Technology Investment and BlueRun Ventures participating.
As we wrote last April, Radius was founded by Darian Shirazi, who took Fwix, a hyperlocal news aggregator, and pivoted his startup into local sales intelligence for businesses. As a side note, Shirazi was also one of Facebook’s first interns and joined the social network at the age of 17.
Radius has created a comprehensive index of information of over 20 million SMBs for marketers in industries such as business insurance, payment services, banking, credit cards, telecoms and more by pulling data from across the web (including social – Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Facebook – and location-based content).
Radius takes the hyperlocal data Fwix used to pull together from Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Localeze, Acxiom and CityGrid and turns it into a dashboard that a sales force can use to keep tabs on successful local shops. You can see news, tweets, reviews and events tied to the place. This data can also be fed into Salesforce and Microsoft’s CRM product, where companies can keep track of leads and follow through on potential opportunities.
So who needs this data? Shirazi explains that daily deal companies can access data like traffic and local reviews to determine whether they should run a business. Or they could see all the restaurants in a neighborhood who have run a Groupon deal. Or Farmer’s Insurance or State Farm could use Radius to find all the businesses who have a three-star rating on Yelp who are likely to be better bets when it comes to being insured. Or GoDaddy or another web hosting service could use Radius to see which small businesses in an area don’t have standalone websites. Payments companies like Square could see which small businesses in an area don’t yet accept credit cards by crawling Yelp and Citysearch.
American Express is an interesting investor and partner, says Shirazi, because the financial organization serves a lot of small businesses with its credit cards via its Open Forum for small businesses. “Good data around small businesses is hard to find,” says Shirazi. “Working with a company like AmEx could definitely help us.” Of course, AmEx could also use Radius to target small businesses to use their credit services as well.
Nearly a year into the pivot, Shirazi is very optimistic about Radius’ prospects as a long-term company. Radius is bringing in real revenue and serving 10 million sales professionals. He plans to use the funding towards expanding the sales, engineering and product teams. Specifically, Radius will expand its index of information about small- and medium-sized businesses.
There’s no doubt that mining the massive amount of data that is now on the web from local businesses is a great idea. As more businesses flock to the web, this data is only going to become more plentiful. There are competitors in the space (i.e. Dun & Bradstreet), but as Shirazi explains this could be a billion-dollar opportunity.