Web engagement inbox tool Engagio is launching to the public today and announcing a $540k round of seed funding. The seed funding is led by Rho Canada with participation from Real Ventures, Extreme Venture Partners, Bullpen Capital and individual investors including Fred Wilson and Mike Yavonditte. The tool, a Gmail-like inbox for social media conversations, aims to help people organize their conversations and replies in one place while also providing context around their contacts.
Founder William Mougayar came up with the idea for Engagio in October 2011 while commenting on Fred Wilson’s A VC blog. He found he was having trouble keeping track of his comments and social media mentions across different platforms and services. He approached Wilson with the idea for a social media inbox that would track all of his conversations, and launched the alpha version on A VC in early December. “Fred’s support has been a very significant milestone in our start,” Mougayar said in an interview. “As an investor, it’s also significant because he’ll be closely watching our evolution and progress.”
Real Ventures partner Mark MacLeod says he invested in Engagio because he was comfortable with the team and space. “I have known William for a while and was impressed with what he was doing with (his other company) Eqentia,” he said in an interview. “William is also a prolific blog commenter. Just scroll any post on Fred Wilson’s blog and he’s there. So he has both the capability and the insight to build just the right product for this market.” He says as a blogger himself, the tool is helping him keep in touch with people and his comments. “I can manage all my interactions from the application. I have also just started to leverage the relationship building features of Engagio by looking at who I interact with the most. There is a ton of value there.”
Engagio tracks conversations on multiple platforms, from blog commenting systems like Facebook Comments to social media tools like Twitter and Google+, covering seven platforms in total. Each conversation is shown in the style of an email, with an icon to indicate which platform the comment originated from. It gives users the option to reply from within their inbox, view the original comment, or share it with their networks. He says since the alpha launch the team has been adding features weekly, including searching comments and people, and as part of today’s public launch they’re adding the ability to see where top contacts are commenting, as well as email notifications. Mougayar’s plan is to continue adding platforms based on the availability and maturity of their APIs. The service doesn’t support native WordPress comments yet, but it does support multi-platform commenting systems like Disqus.
The tool is great for individuals like Mougayar who are self-proclaimed “power commenters,” but it also provides an easy way for brands to track and reply to social conversations. “We will be adding capabilities to support them doing that,” he said. “It’s not just to monitor online conversations. Engagio’s sweet spot is in replying to these conversation across the social media spectrum and seeing that the same person has said four different things about you across four different social networks and other blogs.” It gives brands the ability to learn more about their most engaged fans before responding to them, acting as a social CRM tool. There are other social media dashboard tools that let people see their accounts in one place, like Hootsuite, but they don’t provide context as to who is interacting with a company the most.
Mougayar, who is also the founder of content curation platform Eqentia, plans to use the funding to hire more staff in development, marketing and UI/UX, and to scale the platform. He also has plans to release an HTML5 mobile web app, and will be opening a NYC office at the end of February in the General Assembly space. Though he has four monetization options in mind, he says they all hinge on having a large number of engaged users. “We are focused now on building the user base, and these monetization options will reveal themselves naturally,” he said.