Sir Terry Leahy joins Starcount following $10m investment

Backing of ‘fan science’ company marks ex-Tesco boss’s second investment in a week

Social analytics platform Starcount today announced the completion of a $10m round of investment, from a group of private investors including ex-Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy.

Founded in 2010 by Drew Thomson, Starcount is a social analytics platform that claims to provide a ‘definitive measure’ of popularity on social media, by tracking high-profile figures’ interactions with followers.

The Manchester-based company uses mathematics to track the tastes and trends of 1.7 billion people and 126,500 celebrities across 12 major social media networks, which it says helps its clients to better utilise social media to grow their brands.

Starcount is also launching a number of consumer products, including ‘fan recognition’ platform Kudos, content aggregation app Playlist and Social Chart, which it says provides a global measure of social popularity.

The current $10m investment comes from a group of existing and private investors, most notably Sir Terry Leahy – ex-CEO of Tesco and backer of start-ups and Eagle Eye Solutions.

Leahy, who made a ‘significant’ investment, will mark a reunion withTesco Clubcard pioneers Clive Humby and Edwina Dunn, who joined the Starcount board as executive directors following Starcount’s acquisition of H&D Ventures in August 2013 – a business owned by Humby and Dunn.

Sir Terry Leahy will become chairman of Starcount’s ‘client council’, Star Chamber, a ‘select group’ of high-profile brands and organisations brought together by the company to develop social media strategy. The founding members of Star Chamber will be announced over the coming months.

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The Starcount investment marks Leahy’s second major deal in a week, following his recent backing of e-commerce fashion site Atterley Road as part of a £2m deal.

Sir Terry Leahy commented on the deal: “Just as retailers had to revolutionise their customer engagement practices in the 1990s, brands today are faced with the unique challenges and opportunities presented by social media.

“Starcount is leading the way in social media insight and engagement, changing the old model of marketing for brands across digital platforms. It’s fantastic to join Clive and Edwina on the board at such an exciting time for the business and I look forward to building long term commercial partnerships through Star Chamber.”

Drew Thomson, founder and CEO at Starcount, added: “This is a hugely significant time for our business and attracting people of the caliber of Sir Terry, with his unique consumer insight and business expertise is a real coup for Starcount.

“His deep belief and focus on the customer at Tesco was an inspiration for our philosophy of always putting fans first at Starcount.”


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