A Social Story written by:
Lindsay Bell, Radian6
Community Content Manager
Radian6 is the little company that could.
And did. In a huge way.
Hatched in 2006 by two tech-minded young Maritimers over a double-double at their local Tim Horton’s (think Dunkin’ Donuts, but insert Canadian cultural icon), the idea grew rapidly into the industry leader that it is today.
But let’s back up a bit
Birthed from BBSs, Friendster and some say dating sites, by 2006 the social web had some strong achievers – MySpace had grown to be the most popular social network in the world, and Facebook finally became open to everyone. That cult of inclusion set the stage for social media as we know it today.
Sensing that the trend was about to seriously explode, Radian6 co-founders Chris Newton (@cdnewt) and Chris Ramsey (@chrisramsey) went all in, creating from the ground up an industry-leading social media monitoring platform that would change forever the way that corporations large and small would approach their marketing, communications – and now social media strategies.
How We Got To Today’s Success
By 2011 they were successfully engaging with more than 2500 clients, including over half of the FORTUNE100, and leading global brands like AAA, Dell, GE, Kodak, PepsiCo and UPS.
But they didn’t get this far without help. People who believed in their brains and their business sense, and who would invest in them and their dream.
Alongside their original, invaluable angel investors, Radian6 reached out to Canada’s National Research Council - Industrial Research Assistance Program. This program provides financial support to qualified small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada, by helping them develop technologies for competitive advantage. They also provided, through the program’s ‘startup incubator’, office space and other support. This was one government investment that didn’t fail – by 2010 the company had been turning a profit for two years, and was recognized as the fastest growing player in the social media monitoring space.
The Importance Of Investment
But, as Ramsay said recently at the Southeastern United States and Canadian Provinces Alliance meetings, governments shouldn’t be deterred by the odd failed investment, as even the opportunity to try trains a new generation of skilled workers in emerging sectors.
“Investment in business is critically important, even if they fail,” Ramsey said. “If you build a business and you bring young people in, they move up the chain, they get experience, you are training the workforce for the next round of companies….if you look at Radian6, we are almost 400 people now and a lot of people in our company have never been involved in a high-tech company before and now they have been.”
There Is More Growth To Come
And Radian6 has every intention of growing those 400 staffers by another 100 before the end of the year. Compare that to 5 short years ago, when it was literally just co-founders Chris Newton and Chris Ramsey at the helm, their angel investors and a handful of clients willing to dive into the pool of social media monitoring and engagement.
Two staff became five, five became sixty-five, and today, at its headquarters in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Radian6 employs teams dedicated to everything from research and development to sales and marketing to an entire community management and social media strategy team.
They have additional offices in Saint John, N.B., and Halifax, Nova Scotia; divisions in London, England and Sydney, Australia; and a handful of remote staff in Boston, Chicago, Miami, North Carolina and Toronto, Ontario.
The Recent SalesForce Buy Out
And it’s certainly no secret that the ink’s barely dry on one of Maritime Canada’s largest technology based acquisitions ever – U.S. based cloud computing giant Salesforce acquired Radian6 on May 2nd for approximately $276 million in cash and $50 million in stock, net of cash acquired.
Not bad for a pit stop at the local Timmie’s.
Clearly Radian6’s growth benefitted immensely from supportive people who ‘got it’.
Who understood the dream, and could see the potential in where the social web was heading. Where will social media be in 5, 10, 20 years? With the astonishing innovations recently in technology, mobility, and cloud computing it really is impossible to predict (though many will try!).
What matters, is that people were and still are willing to invest in social.