William Mougayar: Becoming a social media entrepreneur

Social media has changed the way that we connect with our friends, with news and with organizations. It has opened up possibilities that we hadn’t even dreamed of 10 years ago.

Social media has also proven fertile ground for entrepreneurs with ideas. Canada has spawned some great social media companies – Radian6HootSuitePostRank,StumbleUponTungle, and more.

Behind every one of these success stories is an entrepreneur who had an idea and the persistence, energy and sheer determination to make it happen.

William Mougayar is the entrepreneur behind not just one, but two social media startups:Eqentia and Engagio. The first of these two startups, Eqentia, is billed as a “vertical news environment.”   It enables you to curate the content you care about from a variety of sources across the social Web. The newer company, Engagio, enables you to draw together all of your conversations from different social media into one place.

Less than two months after launch, Engagio has earned positive word of mouth and prominent backers such as Fred Wilson thanks to its simple but compelling proposition.

Developing a successful startup isn’t easy. If it were, we’d all be heading up successful companies. It takes a lot of luck and some smart decisions. But in the era of social, we see more and more of the people around us pursuing their dream, trying their hand at starting up a new business, at making their idea become reality.

So how did William Mougayar do it? You can find out at the next Third Tuesday Toronto #3TYYZ and Third Tuesday Ottawa #3TYOW meetups. William will share his personal journey from idea to beta to seed funding. He’ll tell us about the dark nights of doubt, the highs of the Eureka moments and the grinding work that goes into that success.

This Third Tuesday will be for you whether you are a budding entrepreneur yourself, know some people involved in startups or just wonder as you use your favourite social app, “How did they do that?”

I hope you be able to join us that evening to hear from one of Canada’s true social media entrepreneurs, William Mougayar.

You can register to attend either on the Third Tuesday Toronto #3TYYZ or Third Tuesday Ottawa #3TYOW websites


Thank you to our sponsors

As you know, Third Tuesday is a community-oriented, volunteer-driven event. And we wouldn’t be able to bring great speakers like William Mougayar to Third Tuesdays across the country without the support of some like-minded sponsors. We’ve been lucky to have some great companies step up over the past several years to help us make Third Tuesday happen. Big thanks are due to CNW GroupRogers Communications, the Canadian Internet Registration AuthorityRadian6 and Cision Canada for making the 2011/12 Third Tuesday season possible.

Want to know more about William Mougayar and Engagio?

Engagio is the 1 Inbox to rule them all, ReadWriteWeb

Engagio goes from the Comment Section to $540K seed investment, Venture Beat

Engagio wants to be your one stop social inbox, Mathew Ingram in GigaOm

Toronto’s Engagio raises $540K and heads to New York, TechVibes



Eqentia – a new social media monitoring tool for enterprises

Eqentia is a social media startup headquartered in Toronto Canada. In this week’s episode of Social Mediators, Eqentia’s CEO and Founder, William Mougayar, joins Dave Fleet and me for a discussion about Eqentia, what it does, who its aimed at and future plans for it.

Eqentia is positioning itself as a team-based knowledge dashboard that can be managed by one or two users, freeing others from the need to set up and refine searches. William hopes that managers will turn to it each day to answer the question, “What’s new that I need to know about?”

Eqentia’s text mining engine promises to deliver content to users in near realtime, providing them with an up to the minute picture of conversations and references to their brands and issues of interest.

William sees Eqentia becoming a productivity tool for medium and large enterprises. Initially, power users can curate the content to ensure that the highest relevance and most valuable content is featured, saving time and effort for the rest of the team. Once the principal user has set up the tool and refined the settings so that it focuses on the company’s specific interests, other team members will have access to the data without the need to manage the sources, relevancies and advanced filters and settings that make all of this possible.

Eqentia will be most attractive to teams that have both power users and executives who don’t care about how to use the tool, but just want to see its output. The power users can publish the information in user-friendly form for the end users – via email, Twitter, RSS feeds, or by giving end users access to individual topics.

Unlike many other social media tools that focus on providing users with the ability to build folksonomies by applying multiple tags, Eqentia incorporates predefined taxonomies to standardize searches and make it easy for end users to find the same data set with a simple search.

Still to come in Eqentia’s development – a comprehensive approach to social media metrics.

The company has some potential client deals in the works and hopes to be able to begin to announce these in the near future.

Eqentia has been seed funded by Extreme Venture Partners, who also funded Bump Top, which was recently acquired by Google. William says that he had the funding to carry on with the development of the product and to explore its marketing potential.

Have you tried Eqentia? What are your thoughts about it?

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