Careers at NetBase Solutions
NetBase’s mission is to make data from the social web accessible to business users and actionable for decision making.
Michael Osofsky was an MBA student at the MIT Sloan School of Management with a strong interest in innovation, and the processes for breeding it. He came up with an idea that involved establishing a large database that included the world’s greatest unmet needs and the world’s existing technologies. The goal would be to randomly pair the two categories in order to generate creative solutions.
Osofsky soon learned that such a database already existed, maintained by a company called yet2.com. However, one day in classs a professor gave a lecture on innovation, and said that regular consumers often facilitate the discovery of cutting-edge products by discussing their unmet needs on the Internet. Osofsky realized that he could build a solution that collected this information.
He teamed up with a classmate, Jonathan Spier, to develop a prototype. They built the technology over several months, then garnered their first customer to test it out -- a large chemical company. The client had created time-release microspheres for drugs, but could not find a big enough market for it. It tasked the team with finding an alternative use for the product.
The men‘s solution used natural language processing to analyze online content for ideas, which led to the discovery of a market in the food sector. The outcome was a success, and the team officially launched their service in 2004, called Accelovation (a hybrid of “acceleration“ and“innovation“). It raised funding and obtain many more clients. Accelovation was later renamed NetBase.
Benefits at NetBase Solutions
Business model of NetBase Solutions
NetBase has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments.
The company targets its offerings at firms across industries that seek easier ways to identify suitable markets and generate new ideas. It serves over 30 industries.
NetBase offers three primary value propositions: convenience, performance, and brand/status.
The company’s solution offers convenience by making searching easier. It scours the Web for information of interest, with its language processing technology reading millions of social media posts in 42 languages. It indexes 50,000 sentences per minute from sources such as Twitter and Tumblr. It also provides real-time insights on emotions, attitudes, and purchase behavior.
The company’s solution has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results. Independent studies have shown it operates as much as nine times faster than comparable offerings from competitors, and is 50 – 70% more accurate. High-profile examples of positive outcomes include the following:
- CBD Marketing used NetBase’s solution to help its client avoid costly decisions, resulting in a reduction in research time from one day to two hours and $40,000 in annual savings
- OMD used NetBase’s solution to upgrade its social listening, reducing its research time to two hours and achieving $300,000 in annual savings and $100,000 in additional budget per project
- Rock Orange used NetBase’s solution to develop a strong back-to-school campaign, resulting in a 29% increase in share of voice and a 20x increase in annual impressions to 450 million
- Santy used NetBase’s solution to help its client create a targeted campaign, resulting in an 870% increase in the client’s social footprint and a 133% increase in potential impressions
- James Madison University used NetBase’s solution to monitor its public image, resulting in a reduction in research time from two days to two hours and improved crisis response times
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its performance. It has grown 300% on average year-over-year. It has a large global presence, working with clients from over 30 industries in more than 99 countries. It has many customers in the Fortune 500, including Coca-Cola, Target, T-Mobile, MetLife, and United Airlines.
Lastly, it has won many honors, including recognition as a “Leader” in The Forrester Wave’s ranking of Enterprise Listening Platforms (2016), as a top firm in TrustRadius’s ranking of Social Media Management Tools (2015), as a “Leader” in Social Media Suites by G2 Crowd (2015), and as a “Best-in-Class” company by Consumer Good Technology (2016).
NetBase’s main channel is its direct sales team, though it also utilizes independent software vendors, particularly for countries outside the U.S. and Europe. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, webinars, and participation in forums and conferences.
NetBase’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees.
The company’s website features a “Resources” section that includes self-help tools such as white papers, research reports, eBooks, product sheets, webinars, and videos. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
NetBase’s business model entails maintaining a robust platform for its customers.
NetBase maintains the following types of partnerships:
- Social Platform Partners – The company works with social media platforms to offer a strong selection of social insights to its customers. Specific platforms are Twitter, Tumblr, and Datasift.
- Integration Partners – The company works with social marketing and business intelligence providers to integrate their offerings into its solutions in order to provide enhanced offerings for its customers. Specific partners are Domo and Spredfast.
- Global Channel Partners – The company works with various firms that promote and sell its solutions in order to extend its sales reach. Specific partners are POLIS Consulting, Neoris, Estilos, Tecnos Data Science Marketing, Anthea Interactive Group, MQA, and So What Factors.
NetBase’s main resource is its proprietary software platform.
It depends on its human resources in the form of technology employees to maintain and update the platform, sales staff to promote it, and customer service staff to provide support.
Lastly, as a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $84.6 million from seven investors as of April 2015.
NetBase has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions.
Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support/operations and product development, also fixed costs.
NetBase has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from the subscription fees it charges for access to its software-as-a-service platform. Sales staff must be contacted directly for pricing quotes.
info: Peter earned a B.A. in Agriculture and the equivalent of an MBA in Management Studies from the Seale Hayne College in the UK. He prevously served as President and CEO of Siperian Corporation and as Co-President and CEO of Enkata Technologies.
info: Michael earned a B.A. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He previously served as an engineer at Ariba, where he oversaw numerous product development efforts.
info: David earned a B.A. from University of California, Davis and an MBA from Cornell University. He previously served as CFO of Adaptive Insights, Virtutech, Rudolph Technologies, and KLA-Tencor. He has over 25 years of senior finance experience.
info: Mark earned a B.S. in Computer and Communication Science from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in Management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He previously served as Co-Founder and CTO of TIBCO Software.
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