Banjo Scores $100M Series C Led By Softbank To Analyze Events As They Happen

Banjo, a startup that analyzes data about events and breaking news in real-time, has pulled in a $100 million series C led by Softbank with participation from returning investor BlueRun Ventures.

This is by far the largest round Banjo has raised to date and brings its total funding to $121 million, according to Crunchbase. The company landed a $16 million series B in March 2014 and its $5 million series A in August 2010 (BlueRun Ventures participated in both).

In a press release on its site, the company said that it will use some of its new capital to hire more data scientists and engineers. The company started as a social discovery app before it turned to data analysis for news publishers and other organizations.

Its series B a year ago was used to shift the focus of the company from its consumer-facing products to its event analysis platform, which Banjo calls its “crystal ball.”

News organizations like NBC, Fox, and the BBC already use Banjo to power live social content on their television networks in order to break news before they gather traction on Twitter or Facebook. The startup’s insights can also be used to aid emergency responders and improve driving conditions.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, founder and chief executive Damien Patton says he decided to develop Banjo’s “crystal ball” after the Boston Marathan attack in 2013, when many bystanders didn’t know that bombs had caused the explosions. Patton realized that technology would be able to scan photos and videos uploaded by witnesses and more quickly identify important information in the images than human investigators.

The deal marks one of Japan-based Softbank’s largest investments in a U.S. startup. In Asia, Softbank is known for making large investments in e-commerce companies like Snapdeal and Alibaba, as well as taxi services Kuadi Dache and Ola.