December 31, 2012
Do you work with a large Facebook fanpage? Confused by all the social noise across all the social media channels? Why, social media, why do you create such a tsunami of noise? Welcome Whit.li.
Whit.li is a smart social segmentation and analytics tool for enterprise which allows segmentation of social media audiences, creates clarification of personality traits (life-stage demographics and interests), and measures campaign effectiveness within identified audience segments. Whit.li uses real-time social media intelligence based off your audience’s personality, lifestyle, and real interests to turn social media into your friend.
Tech Cocktail: Who are the founders?
Whit.li: Jack Holt: Whit.li is Jack’s second startup. Jack founded S3 Matching Technologies in 2001 with three others and, over nine years, brought to market sophisticated SaaS products leveraging non-name matching algorithms. Thousands of users from HP, NYSE, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Proctor & Gamble, and others depend on these apps each day. In 2010, Jack divested his interest in S3, acquiring the matching code and multi-million dollar accounts which continue to fund Whit.li.
Andi Gillentine: Serves as COO and co-founder of NocPlace. Andi leads Whit.li’s operations and algorithm development, leveraging her previous work experience from S3 Matching Technologies and an academic degree in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College. Her master’s degree in epidemiology, from the University of Texas, rounds out her analytical approach to problem solving to help support her various roles at Whit.li.
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind your startup, and what does Whit.li mean?
Whit.li: Part of it was due to the huge amount of information that’s available on the web today (email, search, social, etc), and thinking of unique ways to sort through it all.
Our name, Whit.li, stems from “separating the wheat from the chaff“.
Tech Cocktail: Who is your greatest competitor, and how do you differentiate yourself?
Whit.li: Social monitoring/management companies, such as Radian 6 and Sprout Social, are our greatest competitors.
Our advantage starts with our algorithms, which identify not only rare interests, demographics, and life-stage data for influencers on brands’ social networks – but also, unique personality traits based on user-generated content, i.e., introversion/extroversion, conscientiousness, etc. Whit.li is also very easy to integrate compared with other services (ideal for SMB’s.) Lastly, Whit.li’s ‘easy apps’ will increase brand ROI through improved targeting.
Tech Cocktail: What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in your city?
Whit.li: The advantages of being in Austin, TX – besides the amazing culture, rolling hills, cool lakes, music scene, delicious food, and South by Southwest (SXSW) – Austin is very supportive of the startup community, and the number of startups is growing every year. Austin’s startup/tech scene doesn’t yet match up to that of San Francisco, so we solved this problem by opening offices in both cities!
Tech Cocktail: Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for your startup. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?
Whit.li: Pivoting was a challenge at first. We decided to follow Eric Ries and his Lean Startup to help those transitions happen more smoothly. We learned that we needed to be careful about creating a feature-full product before we measured assumptions or received proper feedback.
Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about you, your team, or your office culture?
Whit.li: We have a few folks who have become skilled in origami. Specifically, folding press kits into origami rocket ships. Halfway through folding, we were having contests on who could fold them the fastest. Those who aren’t good at origami are good at Nerf gun shooting – another favorite pastime in the office.
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