To compete in a crowded field of social listening and “influencer” ID services, a startup named Little Bird has raised $1 million. Formerly
known as Plexus Engine, Little Bird was founded about a year ago by trade journalist and entrepreneur Marshall Kirkpatrick, with the help of Wieden + Kennedy's tech incubator.
Just coming out of private beta, Little Bird is targeting marketers, PR professionals, and other members of the media elite by automating the discovery and ranking of influencers across topics.
Mark Cuban’s Radical Investments led the angel funding round, along with StockTwits co-founder Howard Lindzon, Hubspot co-founder Dharmesh Shah, former Twitter engineer Blaine Cook, and Wieden+Kennedy.
Little Bird distinguishes influencers from the crowd based on their social media status, measured in the number -- as well as the quality -- of their “friends” and followers. After a trial period, Little Bird is expected to cost individual users $50 a month, and businesses anywhere from $250 to $1,000.
As traditional media barriers continue to crumble, social marketing -- along with identifying and ranking modern media influencers -- has become big business.
Microsoft recently made a "strategic investment" in Klout. Per the multiyear agreement, Bing also became one of the social site's "most significant" partners, according to Microsoft. Earlier this year, Oracle announced the acquisition of social marketing platform Vitrue for a reported $300 million. Before that, Salesforce.com agreed to buy Buddy Media for nearly $800 million.
A longtime technology and digital media reporter, Kirkpatrick edited ReadWriteWeb before hatching Little Bird.