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Cambridge's Crimson Hexagon pulls in $5 million more, for social media monitoring service

Posted by Scott Kirsner  May 24, 2011 08:30 AM

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The lesson for today is, Be kind to your boss. Some far-off day, he or she may be instrumental in funding your next company.

Cambridge-based Crimson Hexagon is announcing a $5 million funding round today from Charles F. Dolan, founder and chairman of Cablevision Systems Corp. Crimson's current CEO, Patricia Gottesman, joined the company last year; she'd spent nearly three decades working for Dolan at Cablevision. With the new funding, Crimson has raised nearly $10 million.

The company, a spin-out from Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science, helps clients understand what consumers are saying about their products online — whether on blogs, Twitter, or Facebook. They call it "near real-time market research."

Gottesman says the company will use the new funding to add to its staff of 14. "We want to expand our account management and client services teams, and also add a new product or two, which will involve increasing the size of our engineering team," she says. The company will likely hire in Cambridge — where it is outgrowing its current office space — as well as New York, Los Angeles, and London, Gottesman says.

As for the company's strategic focus, Gottesman says, "We're aggressively marketing to media clients. They want to understand how to best position their content, whether it's online video or traditional TV, and they have a keen interest in advertising as a vital component of the digital business model." She says the company is also expanding in banking and financial services.

"Hot spaces take time to form," Gottesman says, referring to the business of monitoring and analyzing what people say in the social media arena. "We think this will be a formative two-year period."

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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