Indian digital media circles have been abuzz with rumors of potential targets being looked at in the social media analytics space by Twitter, Adobe and even WPP, the world’s biggest advertising company. The latest to join the list of potential targets is Simplify360, a Bangalore-based social media analytics startup that counts over 100 paying customers including big names such as Yamaha, Revlon, Target and Wipro.
I reached out to Bhupendra Khanal, the startup’s CEO, who confirmed ongoing talks for strategic investments with several companies, but declined to elaborate any further. This is what he had to say:
“At this stage I cannot accept or decline this news. Several companies have approached for strategic investment or acquisition, and serious talks are on. We will announce if something materializes.”
The rumors of Adobe being in talks to acquire Simplify360 were reported by Indian social media blog, Socialsamosa yesterday.
Simplify360 is among a growing breed of startups focused on gathering and parsing data from Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. A recent, notable acquisition in this space was that of Topsy, which was acquired by Apple for over $200 million last year.
Simplify360 is similar to Topsy, except that it goes beyond Twitter and crawls through terabytes of data that include Tweets, Facebook posts, etc., to offer customized analytics. Founded in January 2009, Simplify360 has been bootstrapped so far with an undisclosed angel investment from Amvensys Capital in December 2012. The startup has 25 people on its payroll, and it currently sifts through around 5 million posts and tweets every day that generates around 5 terabytes of data every week.
Another key differentiator for Simplify360 is that it now offers analytics in over 27 languages and has customers in markets like Korea apart from India, where around one-third of 200 million Internet users are increasingly posting social media conversations in over 30 languages.
So why would an Adobe or WPP be interested in this little, unknown startup based in Bangalore?
From what I gathered after speaking with several people in companies that could be potential acquirers, converting millions of Tweets and social media posts into real insights is the Holy Grail for marketeers, and tools such as Simplify360 help achieve that.
As this blog notes, Adobe’s interest also comes from the fact that it really wants to compete with Salesforce better, especially in the social media analytics space. Both Salesforce and Oracle have been doubling down on their social media analytics strategy through acquisitions. While Salesforce bought Buddy Media in 2012, Oracle acquired several companies including Vitrue and Collective Intellect.
Simplify360 founders and officials at companies in talks with the startup declined to share details on revenues, valuation or anything related. The startup makes money by offering its SaaS analytics tool for a monthly subscription starting at $500.
“The startup is profitable and should be able to decide on the strategic alliance or acquisition within 2-3 months,” a source familiar with the discussions said. He added that an investment banking firm has already been appointed.
Whether Adobe or somebody big finally acquires Simplify360 or not, it’s increasingly becoming clear that Indian startups have started getting attention of potential acquirers. As we wrote this piece about Little Eye Labs acquisition by Facebook recently, startups in big data space including Frrole are showing up on radars of Twitter and several others.
We are reaching out to Adobe, WPP and others to get their comments.