Can Seesmic Reinvent Itself as an Enterprise Tool?
November 7, 2010
This post is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark as a new part of the Spark of Genius series that focuses on a new and innovative startup each day. Once a week the program focuses on startups within the BizSpark program and what theyre doing to grow.
A little more than three years ago, SeesmicSeesmic launched as a TwitterTwitter-for-video service, but by mid-2009 the startup had completely shifted gears to focus on consumer software for the social web. Today, Seesmic is shuffling once more, this time to refocus on the enterprise.
We are moving from an end consumer-focused company to a business- and enterprise-focused one, says Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur.
We found out that most of our users are business users, community managers and enterprise [professionals]. Thats why I started this strategic partnership with Salesforce, which is helping us go enterprise full-speed.
Le Meur is referencing the recent collaboration between Salesforce and Seesmic to bring Saleforces enterprise social application Chatter inside the Seesmic platform. He believes this to be a huge first step in tailoring the application experience around enterprise professionals, an audience the startup hopes to monetize against.
Seesmic the Platform
Seesmic has long been available for web, desktop and mobile, but with the release of Seesmic Desktop 2, the company made the transition from social media software to social media platform.
Were always adding new platforms, and became a platform ourselves to grow even faster, explains Le Meur.
The available API has allowed third-party developers to build and release plugins that bring external application features like Chatter functionality inside the desktop application, essentially making the application a fully customizable social media browser for consumer and business tasks.
The platform strategy is key for Seesmic as it pushes to attract enterprise clientele. The marketing advantages alone have been instrumental in reaching potential new customers, says Le Meur.
Since we integrated them, the CEO of Salesforce Marc Benioff himself took us to his keynotes around the World in Tokyo, London, Paris That is amazing marketing and its free for a startup, he says.
Third Times a Charm?
Seesmic as a video service was a failure. Videovideo conversation was too early, it did not grow beyond a great but small community and wasnt viable, explains Le Meur.
This new shift in focus also seems to suggest that Seesmic as social media software targeted at consumers may have missed the mark.
Given the bumps in the road, would Le Meur have done anything differently in hindsight? No, never, he says, I never look behind me, always ahead, focusing on what I should do different in the future.
The future is the enterprise, and failures and missteps aside, if Seesmic can find a way to effectively monetize its service and entice enterprise clientele to pay for upgrades, or attract enterprise partners to finance integration, then theres no reason why the startup cant make a fourth quarter comeback. Still, social software for the enterprise is a very crowded space, and the startup is bound to face obstacles IT departments restricting external downloads, for one as it traverses this road.
Le Meur does share that his company will likely raise more funding shortly. Many people are interested in what we do, he says. To date, the startup has pulled in $12 million in Series A and B rounds from noteworthy investors including Mark Pincus and Ron Conway.
We also pushed for specific stats on core metrics, but Le Meur would only share that the company is actively tracking registered users, new users, desktop and mobile apps downloads, and active daily users as its key metrics. For now, all we have to go on is his word that revenue is coming soon and we are very happy about the growth.
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