One Omaha Gov 2.0 startup has purchased another.
As a result, VoterTide's technology will be integrated into MindMixer's online community engagement platform as MindMixer Insights, which aims to bring additional value to what the profitable two-year-old startup can offer its clients. The new offering will allow organizations to listen to their communities through real-time tracking and analysis of social and traditional media activity.
"I think there's 67 percent of the U.S. adult population on social media," MindMixer co-founder and CEO Nick Bowden (right) said. "We feel like being able to understand and analyze what those people are talking about is fundamental to asking great questions and engaging people in a more effective way."
With the VoterTide integration, Bowden foresees MindMixer clients picking up on what their audience is saying elsewhere and bringing that conversation to its platform.
"Two-way communication is the key to effecting change, but the challenge is activating them to join a conversation the decision makers can see," he said. "By adding this new technology to our services, our clients will be more informed about their audiences and better equipped to bring them into the fold."
The new technology, however, isn't the highlight of this acquisition. More importantly, Bowden said, MindMixer gets "great additions" to its team. VoterTide co-founder and CEO Jimmy Winter (left) and CTO Matt Barr have assumed senior leadership roles on MindMixer's product and technology teams, respectively. Leah Frelinghuysen, who's based in Washington, D.C., has kept her communications role, and current programming intern Paul Graff will join the team full-time later this year.
Until now, the 20-person startup has relied on its four-person Los Angeles-based development team for its product updates. It's had developers in its Omaha headquarters, but never those focused on its back-end.
"(My co-founder Nathan Preheim) and I have always had a list of people we'd love to have on our team and Jimmy's always been on the list," Bowden said.
But before this past January the entrepreneurs had only met once, even though they ran two of a handful of Gov 2.0 companies in the area. It was a perspective MindMixer investor—the startup is currently raising a round of funding—that played a role in getting them in the same room to talk about ways to collaborate.
"I think our first discussion with Nick and Nathan was on January 23 and the deal officially closed on February 22—paper work done," said Winter, who co-founded the company in 2011 with Shannon Schlappi. "Basically, there's a good synergy."
Bowden echoed Winter, noting it was a "fantastic" opportunity from a cultural and team standpoint as well as a product standpoint. The two founders declined to disclose the terms of the acquisition, but both called it "good for everybody."
This is MindMixer's first acquisition, though Bowden, who said it would have cost more in terms of time and opportunity to build VoterTide's product in-house than to acquire the startup, has looked at other deals.
"I think as a company it's a responsibility of ours to always be looking for opportunities to grow the business and add talented people," Bowden said.
So what did he think about finding that opportunity in his own back yard?
"The fact that two Gov 2.0 companies were in Omaha is probably more chance than something in the water here," Bowden said, "but I think it's good for the Omaha area that we can kind of be a little bit of a pedestal for this movement of sorts."