Facebook brand pages are out of control.
At least, that’s what Manalto founder and CEO Anthony Owen told VentureBeat yesterday, discussing the $1 million seed round his company just raised to expand its social media management platform and bring it to the U.S.
While Owen was working at Stardeals, a subsidiary of Groupon Australia, he ran into companies that handled social media management for enterprises of all sizes. But they couldn’t run a state or national deal without all their franchises on board — and he found each franchise’s social media presence differed dramatically.
“There’s no brand consistency, even though some of them have massive followings,” he said.
That realization provided the inspiration for Manalto, which connects multiple Facebook pages to one central dashboard. Owen is specifically catering to larger enterprises who want granular control of their local social media presence.
“We overlap with a bunch of companies — I think we’re all kind of heading to the same place on the map — but … we built it with the enterprise as its core, and we’ve got an [small- to medium-sized business] product that’s spun out of it,” he said. “All these other guys started with the SME and spun out to the enterprise. I think that’s the key difference.”
Companies using Manalto can organize their pages however they want: by state, product, whatever. They can add user accounts with hierarchical control, so creative agencies might be allowed to post images but nothing else, for example, or junior staff might need to have their posts reviewed by a superior. Manalto can also create custom integrations with Facebook, like bringing a shopping cart or pay-per-view video onto a brand page.
The current version of Manalto, which has been live for about half a year, only works with Facebook, but a major version 2.0 update coming in Jan. will add Twitter, Pinterest, and “possibly one or two other platforms,” said Owen, referencing Tumblr and Foursquare as potential candidates. The startup is currently hosting all client data in its own data center, though it’s exploring integration with Box and Dropbox, which could help offset operating costs as it grows.
Manalto raised the $1 million in seed capital from Europlay Capital Advisors and Raven Capital, as well as a group of Australian angel investors, who previously invested just under $500,000 in the startup. It currently has 10 employees: seven in Melbourne, Australia and three in Santa Monica, Calif., its U.S. headquarters. The startup will use the new capital to continue development efforts and build up a sales and marketing team in the U.S.
“In short, what this software really does — well, I don’t see it as a disruptive technology,” said Owen. “I see it as a technology that solves a massive problem, and anyone with multiple products can benefit.”
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