AideRSS CEO Carol Leaman to speak at Third Tuesday Toronto

postrank-090129How does a social media startup not just survive, but continue to grow in the current economic conditions? Carol Leaman, the CEO of AideRSS, the company behind PostRank, will tell us how when she appears at Third Tuesday Toronto on February 17.

AideRSS is an interesting company, both for its innovative PostRank approach to measuring engagement with social media and for the fact that it continues an aggressive growth strategy at a time when others are hoping merely to survive. And with its recent second round financing announcement, it appears to have adequate runway to achieve its objectives.

AideRSS recently announced that it is expanding its PostRank service to offer feed analytics for online content publishers. That’s the all-important data that online publishers use to gain insight into how their RSS feeds are being received and used. The stuff that traditional Web Analytics can’t give you.

postrank-feedanalytics-beta-090129In doing this, PostRank is taking on Google, which recently acquired Feedburner, the dominant feed analytics provider. (disclosure: I use Feedburner for ProPR and all of the Thornley Fallis and 76design-produced blogs and RSS feeds.)

Taking on Google. That’s not something for the timid.

AideRSS’  development is being masterminded by CEO Carol Leaman and co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Ilya Grigorik.  Last Autumn, Ilya, along with AideRSS’ VP Development Jim Murphy and Community Manager Melanie Baker, told Third Tuesday about how the company is developing its core PostRank technology and building a community around it.

On February 17, Carol will provide the business perspective on the PostRank story. What does it take for a startup to survive and thrive in this environment? What does it take to nail down a second round of funding when investors are running for the hills? How does a company build a business around social media and feed analytics?

ThirdTuesdayTorontoSo, if you’re interested in gaining some insight into how a company can find an opportunity in social media, develop a technology that meets a real need and and monetize it, this should be an interesting session.

You can register to attend on the Third Tuesday Toronto meetup site.

As always over the past two years, thanks are due to our national sponsor, CNWGroup, whose support keeps Third Tuesday a free community-based event.

More about PostRank and AideRSS:

Marshall Kirkpatrick has a good post on ReadWrite Web about PostRank’s run at Feedburner

Melanie Baker talks about the role of community manager at AideRSS

AideRSS’ Journey from Founders’ Dream to Professional Leadership

Ilya Grigorik explains PostRank

AideRSS’ PostRank Measures Engagement

AideRSS at DemoCampToronto14

From Founders' Dream to Professional Leadership: AideRSS' Startup Journey

Since launching in July 2007, AideRSS has been well reviewed, attracted venture capital and evolved from founders’ dream into a professionally managed company. During my recent visit to the offices of AideRSS, both Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Ilya Grigorik and recently-appointed CEO Carol Leaman sat down to talk with me about the company’s journey from an idea to a venture-funded enterprise.

As I reviewed the recordings of these interviews, I was struck by how different Ilya and Carol are. Ilya is the quintessential techno-enthusiast. His enthusiasm for the original idea and the pursuit of the next innovation is almost palpable. Carol is the rationalist. Polished. Bottom line oriented.

Two very different people. Yet, they complement one another. Hmmm. A smart pairing brought about by smart money?

Ilya GrigorikIlya:

“It all started as a personal project when I started blogging. I wanted to create an analytics engine for myself, defining my own metrics for how people interact with my content, how has one post performed better than another. … One evening it occurred to me that if I’m doing this to track my own performance, why can’t I apply the same idea to outside posts?”

“It’s an amazing experience to wake up in the morning and realizing that you started with something that was just an idea and something you worked on on weekends, and all of a sudden you have a company working around it.”

“We went from an idea to an actual Website launched in July ’07. It was an amazing launch. We received lots of attention from the online community. Everybody loved the idea. It was something that everybody needed. We had articles written in Japanese, Korean, Arabic, English. It was really an amazing experience to see all the feedback. Following up on that, we went out and raised some money to take the idea to the next level.”

Carol LeamanCarol:

“What’s behind the system is highly complex, but people won’t use it unless it’s extremely simple” to use.

AideRSS received its first round of financing in December, only five months after launch and plans to raise a second round “in a few months.”

What’s the business model? AideRSS seems to be working toward a “freemium service with a variety of potential services.” AideRSS is still in the early stages of exploring this, but they “hope to launch by the end of the calendar year.”

More about AideRSS

Ilya Grigorik explains PostRank

AideRSS’ PostRank Measures Engagement

AideRSS at DemoCampToronto14