Today I’d like to highlight a company that provides one of the most interesting services I’ve seen in recent months. One of the co-founders Kristoffer Lassen shared with me his ideas on the future development of his company.

Note: Imooty’s innovative technology has won several prestigious prices, including the first prize in “Starting Successfully with Multimedia” competition and a “Ruban d’honneur” as Business Innovation of the Year 2009 at the European Business Awards.

Who? When? and Where?
Imooty.eu started as an online news portal in Berlin during the summer of 2007. My business partner Blaise Bourgeois and I had lived in Germany for some time, and had realized that the news agenda in our home countries (France and Norway) were quite different than in Germany.

Back then, the idea was to create a centralized European news portal and partner with media companies and offer access to archive database products, such as historic news articles, dossiers and audio-visual materials via a micropayment system. Freie Universität Berlin supported the idea and with an Exist Start-up grant, Imooty became a full time occupation during the spring of 2008.

Although the idea of a central location for trustworthy European information resonated on a political and institutional level, interest from the media industry was met with less enthusiasm. The big media corporations have been fierce competitors for decades and asking them to unite on a common micro-payment platform, in order to create an alternative to the Google model, was a bit like going into a house full of cats.

So instead of an open platform targeting a mainstream B2C segment, we moved to develop a business intelligence tool for B2B users. We already had a powerful index of trustworthy European news sources and added social media monitoring services.

Major benefits for your customers:
Our customized media dashboard tells the customer:
-What people are saying about their company, brand and product names
-Emerging trends and social media buzz that matters for their industry
-Business Intelligence on what the competition is up to

With direct access to high value information sources such as newspapers, magazines, political and research institutions, as well as social media monitoring of Twitter, Blogs, Forum discussions, Podcasts and Youtube, Imooty keeps its clients in tune with the most important opinion makers of our time.

Customers are multinationals wanting to monitor the diverse European marketplace in different languages, as well as mid sized companies focusing on local markets. The added value for them is:

-An objective outlook of trends in their industry
-Warning function, when does a topic get interesting for PR / Marketing / R&D?
-Facilitates the decision making process and improves investment decisions.
-Understanding and anticipation of user attitudes

Do you have a social media strategy?

As for promoting an Imooty company account in various social media networks, our operation is simply too small to be doing that as of yet. Of course, every company needs to find out what works for their product or service. We have chosen to pursue leads and prospects with a more conventional means of communication, namely the telephone. It is simply the best ROI according to the resources available to us.

It would surely be different if we were still pursuing a B2C strategy, building a community, evangelize and all that, but as a B2B provider we need to focus on understanding the client’s problems and provide additional “I’m there for you” service. As a small company with big competitors, this is something we can do better than them.

That being said, I consistently link the Imooty brand to myself in professional social media networks. Specifically, I define and promote myself as an expert in the field of media monitoring and use the networks for prospecting. I also make sure to participate in discussion forums from time to time and my status is regularly updated with valuable content, such as articles or videos that I’ve found to be interesting or newsworthy, including of course, articles posted at our blogs media-monitoring.info and medien-beobachtung-blog.de.

We have so far not used social media for recruiting, but that has more to do with a tremendous wealth of talent available to us via various Start-up networks here in Berlin, such as the Profund, Projekt Zukunft and the Gründerwettbewerb.

Currently working on:
One thing is to find information about market trends, brands and competitive intelligence, but more important is what to do with it once you find it!

Imooty is therefore expanding its service with a powerful project management tool for collaboration on media intelligence. It is a simple and efficient way to manage daily / weekly online monitoring tasks and creates accountability within the team structure.

In addition, we’re implementing a semantic text recognition technology that will improve search results and information processing. By way of semantic search components, Imooty will the be able to skim a pool of unexplored and unstructured data, that by way of today’s superficial image analysis, is almost completely ignored. Use of automatic language recognition and filtering out of duplicate content will furthermore dramatically improve the processing of information.

What’s next?
As we started out, we wanted to secure external investment but as the financial climate changed this became unrealistic. Also, the change in strategy, from targeting the B2C to addressing the B2B segment, dramatically reduced the advertising budget and made bootstrapping a more viable course of action. Addressing specific customer needs and solving concrete problems proved to be the shortest way to cash-flow.

We anticipate growing interest in monitoring services for the social media space in the years to come and foresee a period of sustainable growth where Imooty reinvests in development of new technology and know-how.

Profile of Kristoffer Lassen in “Gastautoren”