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Social media mining startup LeadSift heads for the big-time

Social media min­ing start­up Lead­Sift is poised for major suc­cess if it can prove its unique soft­ware real­ly does con­vert the social media leads it fer­rets out into real sales for its clients.

The Cana­di­an start­up, which is based in Hal­i­fax, is bare­ly a year old but already has cus­tomers from across the globe (includ­ing the U.S.) queu­ing to sign up – quite an acco­lade for a firm that hasn’t even adver­tised yet.

$1.1 mil­lion by the end of year one

Lead­Sift has just brought its total fund­ing to beyond the $1 mil­lion mark, made up of a $500,000 invest­ment from OMERS Ven­tures and small­er amounts from an array of angel investors. The lat­ter include Jevon Mac­Don­ald, whose start­up Golnstant was recent­ly sold for $76 mil­lion, and Canada’s “Angel of the Year, 2011” Ger­ry Pond.

Con­tent man­agers, com­mu­ni­ty man­agers and social media man­agers will be curi­ous about what has gen­er­at­ed such investor excite­ment. LeadSift’s soft­ware does as its name sug­gests – it sifts through social media data (chiefly Twit­ter at this stage, although Face­book and Foursquare are in the company’s sites for the future) and pin­points sales leads for its clients. It’s plan­ning to test its recent­ly-launched tri­al ver­sion with 20 com­pa­nies, with a de-bugged and revised ver­sion appear­ing ear­ly in the New Year.

The firm’s 29 year old co-founder and CEO Tapa­jy­oti Das explains how it works, “You drop and break your smart­phone and tweet about it. A sales lead is iden­ti­fied by our sys­tem. We are not just mon­i­tor­ing and lis­ten­ing and report­ing, but are actu­al­ly pro­vid­ing sales leads.”

The big-time beckons

If the com­pa­ny can demon­strate clear­ly that it real­ly can iden­ti­fy high-prob­a­bil­i­ty leads that con­vert into sales, things look more than promis­ing. One of the startup’s ear­ly investors, Ian Cavanagh (CEO of mar­itime IT con­sult­ing firm Ambir), said, “If they can prove that, then this is going to be very, very sub­stan­tial.” He believes Lead­Sift is capa­ble of emu­lat­ing the suc­cess of the social media mon­i­tor­ing out­fit Fred­er­ic­ton, which was bought by last year for $326 million.

With an impres­sive list of advi­sors and a see­able stash of cash behind the com­pa­ny, Das is bull­ish about its prospects, “We have com­pe­ti­tion. But with these investors and men­tors on board, we are more con­fi­dent about crush­ing them.”

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