California-based SodaHead is a place where opinionated users of the web are found. SodaHead aims to be a community where users can meet new people with similar thought processes, which the company says differentiates it from other social networking sites which let people connect with existing friends. The company’s goal is to provide the online world with a space where people can bounce ideas off one another, see different viewpoints and get a snapshot of what public sentiment is on issues in the news.
The company was founded by Michael Glazer and Jason Feffer, who felt that there was a lack of credible communities wherein people could discuss current issues, meet like-minded people and share their opinions. They realized that though many sites sites allowed users to comment on stories, none of them allowed users to interact, view profiles and past voting history, ask questions and find out what the world is thinking on various issues. Glazer and Feffer decided to start a site where people could voice their opinions, frustrations or true feelings and most importantly, be heard.
SodaHead users find a question that interests them, express their views and then meet other users in that community where, often, a relationship develops. The company claims that SodaHead users have met their best friends and even spouses on the site and make long-lasting friendships. Moreover, the site allows users to exchange views that they might be hesitant to share in other settings. SodaHead also has a widget with which users can add videos and images to a poll, make it go viral and customize its look and feel. SodaHead’s biggest and earliest adopters were bands and artists; they would create questions and share them with fans. SodaHead announced its first strategic media partnership with Technorati under which Technorati will feature the SodaHead “Polls of the Day” in eight sections on its site.
The site covers a variety of topics and issues such as politics, business, sports, lifestyle, music and technology. Since SodaHead’s pages are content-rich, its business model is advertising. It targets specific ads to pages that match the content. Pricing is based on the type of advertising that marketers choose to engage in on the site and on the number of users they are able to reach within a specific demographic. SodaHead says it has a rich database of information on its users, which allows advertisers to target different demographics specifically and connect marketers with the appropriate consumers.
The site has over a million registered users with over 7 million answers and 12 million comments. According to Compete, the site gets 994,352 monthly visitors and 1,531,713 monthly visits. According to Quantcast, the site gets 1.8 million people per month globally; 1.2 million are from the US. Further, the site’s demography is slightly skewed towards women, who make up 53% of users. SodaHead was listed as one of the top 20 social networking sites tracked by comScore for December 2008 and experienced 1,277% growth.
The company has raised a total of $12.7 million so far: a $4.3 million Series A led by Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) with participation from Tech Coast Angels and Ron Conway in 2007 and an $8.4 million Series B led by Mission Ventures with MDV participating in June 2008. Though the company is not looking to raise more money through venture capital, it is willing to consider a bigger relationship and strategic partnership with a publisher, entertainment company or large technology company.
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009