Little Bird

Last week, a member of a private Facebook group comprised of social media professionals asked if anyone could supply a list of influential event marketers. So far, only two names have been suggested. Yet in the past 90 seconds, I identified 297. Or, more accurately, Little Bird, a newly launched start-up founded by former ReadWriteWeb editor Marshall Kirkpatrick, did.

Little Bird is essentially a search engine for influencers, but unlike services such as Klout that assign a “reputation score” to people, Kirkpatrick’s tool starts with a topic and, based on Byzantine connections throughout the social graph surrounding the issue, works backward to the “insiders” who are most influential about that particular subject.

In PIE's second demo day, six new startups took the stage and made their pitches for future profitability.

Former TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb writer Marshall Kirkpatrick’s Little Bird (formerly known as Plexus Engine) kicked things off. While there aren’t many questions about Little Bird’s odds at success — the startup did just complete a $1 million round of fundraising led by Mark Cuban and already has more than 20 paying customers — it still deserves mention.

To compete in a crowded field of social listening and “influencer” ID services, a startup named Little Bird has raised $1 million. Formerly known as Plexus Engine, Little Bird was founded about a year ago by trade journalist and entrepreneur Marshall Kirkpatrick, with the help of Wieden + Kennedy's tech incubator.

Just coming out of private beta, Little Bird is targeting marketers, PR professionals, and other members of the media elite by automating the discovery and ranking of influencers across topics.

Mark Cuban’s Radical Investments led the angel funding round, along with StockTwits co-founder Howard Lindzon, Hubspot co-founder Dharmesh Shah, former Twitter engineer Blaine Cook, and Wieden+Kennedy.

Tuning in to the real-time conversations of the top 500 experts in any subject matter on social media can require painstaking efforts. Researchers or their interns often need to find and verify the sources, make lists, then aggregate the blog URLs, Twitter handles, and content published by those experts.

A start-up called Plexus Engine, doing business as Little Bird, automates the process. The company’s co-founder and chief executive, Marshall Kirkpatrick, jumped into tech operations from the editorial side of the start-up scene. He previously worked as an editor and writer at ReadWriteWeb and TechCrunch, respectively.

Meet Little Bird, a social search startup unveiled today, and the latest from Wieden + Kennedy's Portland-based tech incubator to draw investment. The company has raised $1 million dollars in a round led by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The round also includes investments from StockTwits cofounder Howard Lindzon, former Twitter developer Blaine Cook, and Wieden+Kennedy itself.


A Robot Librarian for the Social Web

There is a very simple question that Little Bird, a service that launches today in private beta, attempts to answer: What community are you interested in? With that as a starting point, the service chugs through Twitter streams, blog posts and LinkedIn pages to find the most influential people, companies and reading material on your chosen topic.

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