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The HootSuite Dashboard
|Foundation date||Vancouver, BC, Canada (2008)|
|Headquarters||5 East 8th Avenue. Vancouver, V5T 1R6
|Founder(s)||Ryan Holmes, Dario Meli, David Tedman|
|Key people||Ryan Holmes (CEO)
Steve Johnson (CRO)
Simon Stanlake (CTO)
|Type of site||Social media management, Social networking service|
|Users||Over 7 million (August 2013)|
HootSuite is a social media management system for brand management created by Ryan Holmes in 2008. The system’s user interface takes the form of a dashboard, and supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress, TrendSpottr and Mixi.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, HootSuite has over 300 staff located in Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, London, Sydney, Singapore, and other countries. The company operates on a freemium model and has over 7 million users in more than 175 countries.
In 2008, Holmes needed a tool to manage multiple social media networks at his digital services agency, Invoke Media. Finding that there was no product in the market offering all the features he sought, Holmes, along with Dario Meli, David Tedman, and the Invoke team, chose instead to develop a platform of their own that would be able to organize their many social media accounts and networks. The first iteration of this social media management system launched on November 28, 2008 in the form of a Twitter dashboard called BrightKit.
Recognizing that many other individuals and organizations across the world were facing similar problems with managing multiple social accounts, Holmes decided that BrightKit could be the solution for other businesses also looking to organize their own social networks. The launch of BrightKit met very positive reception, thanks to its clean interface and publishing capabilities.
In February 2009, Holmes offered a $500 prize for renaming the platform, and used crowdsourced suggestions from the dashboard’s over 100,000 users as contest submissions. The winning idea was HootSuite, a moniker submitted by a user named Matt Nathan and based upon "Owly", the dashboard’s owl logo, as a word play on the French expression "tout de suite", meaning "right now". In November 2009, the HootSuite dashboard expanded its offering to further support Facebook and LinkedIn, allowing the capability to use Twitter Lists.
In December 2009, HootSuite spun off from Invoke Media and launched as officially independent company, HootSuite Media, Inc. That same month, HootSuite received $1.9 million in funding from Hearst Interactive Media, Blumberg Capital, and prominent angel investors Social Concepts and Geoff Entress. In March 2012, OMERS Ventures, the venture capital investment arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, invested $20 million, valuing the company at US$200 million. OMERS did not buy its stake directly in the company, but rather bought private shares in a secondary transaction from a handful of employees and early investors, said Holmes.
HootSuite subsequently raised US$50 million in a Series A funding round, following rumors in May 2012. In July 2012, an employee informed Forbes magazine that the company's team consisted of 200 employees at that time.
In September 2012, Hootsuite acquired Seesmic, a customer relationship management system and competitor. Hootsuite plans to transfer all current Seesmic users to Hootsuite.
On August 1, 2013, the company announced that it had raised US$165 million in Series B funding. Holmes also said the company is looking to make at least two unnamed acquisitions, in addition to employing 100 overseas employees.
The service is commonly used to manage online brands and to submit messages to a variety of social media services, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Mixi. Companies and organizations known to use HootSuite include Facebook, the Obama administration, HBO, Martha Stewart Media, Virgin Group, SXSW, Panasonic, Zappos, The Gap, LockerGnome, and LHC. HootSuite provides a browser-based dashboard that allows users to keep updated on their Twitter account. There are both full and lite versions of the service. HootSuite uses the URL shortener ow.ly to shorten URLs submitted to its service.
The company behind the service is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and its chief executive officer is Ryan Holmes. Regarding the company's business strategy, HootSuite allows users to use the service for free but requires that they pay for additional features beyond the basic service. As of June 2010, the service manages over one million social media accounts for 400,000 unique users.
The company plans to monetize 3 to 5 percent of the service's most active accounts, which are generally owned by major brands such as Conde Nast, AOL, Banana Republic, and Dell. The HootSuite company was spun out of Invoke Media in January 2010 after venture capital firms Blumberg capital and Hearst Interactive Media raised $2 million in financing for the company. Localized versions of HootSuite are available in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and German, and 50 more languages are planned to be added. HootSuite's team continues to contact media organizations to help them manage their online brands, by meeting with groups such as Time Inc. and its subsidiary magazines, including People, InStyle, and This Old House.
The HootSuite software has won awards from Mashable at their Open Web Awards 2009, the Canadian New Media Award, the Shorty Awards, and "Best Twitter app" from Australia's mX newspaper. It was a 2012 nominee for the Webby Awards. 
HootSuite is competing in a marketplace for social media dashboard tools or platforms, where marketers are focused on social media management for their clients' web engagement activities. The most well known competitors of HootSuite include TweetDeck. Each of the big three dashboards pursues innovation strategies that emulate the most recent feature enhancements of the other two; for example, TweetDeck launched with a desktop application based on the Adobe AIR platform, and eventually Seesmic rolled out its own Desktop version.
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- "Enterprise engagement management"
- As Twitter Tightens Its Grip, HootSuite Buys Seesmic