Featured BizSpark Startup - SocialSensr

Today’s Featured BizSpark Startup is SocialSensr from the Netherlands.

One startup from the Netherlands built its entire solution using Microsoft Azure as its platform and open source software to tweak the solution to specific needs and goals. It hasn’t been disappointed.  

The social media landscape can change overnight. One minute, a business has thousands of followers on Facebook; the next, a social media faux pas can cause that business to lose followers by the hundreds. What’s a business to do?

Connect using SocialSensr, says Marc van Neerven, CTO of the BizSpark startup. It can supply you with various reports and charts that will measure the impact and effectiveness of your social interactions. It can also help you learn from your social media mistakes and move on more effectively.  

SocialSensr’s entire solution is built on Azure, primarily because van Neerven had used it in another business and was happy with its capabilities. To other startups considering working in the cloud with Azure and open source software, van Neerven says “just do it!”

“We use the Azure platform and open source software for everything,” he explains, “from source control to queues, ASP.NET MVC with WebApi to parallel processing in worker roles and full SQLServer in virtual machines (VMs). We use Selenium, DotNetOpenAuth, ELMAH and several other open source packages, too.”

The SocialSensr app runs as an Azure Cloud Service, and uses full SQL Server 2012 on VMs. The SocialSensr corporate site was built using Azure Websites.

“Each of the OSS packages just came in handy, mostly because of having very active communities,” says van Neerven. “Some clearly set the standard in their field, too, like Selenium.” 

“Be pragmatic about it, of course,” he adds. “Look for active OSS communities to avoid dead ends and find out how swappable your dependency to the packages actually is.” 

As shown below, SocialSensr combines multiple social media accounts, gives you the ability to monitor keywords or hashtags related to you or your brand, lets you focus on different target groups and much more.

The development of a “Social Workspace” concept, one of the application’s unique selling propositions, sets SocialSensr apart from competitors, says van Neerven. Users can set up a workspace to isolate a specific target group, event, product campaign or country. Then, users add their own precise filters, channels and widgets to obtain the information they want.

“You get to tell your social media what you want to see and how you want to interact, not the other way around,” says van Neerven.

Watch an overview and learn about the key features of SocialSensr here.

Working with Microsoft and becoming a BizSpark member gave SocialSensr several key benefits. Microsoft provides a robust, reliable framework and provides the right level of servicing to build up serious business, says van Neerven. And the BizSpark program was a big support to the startup because of the software and support the program provides.

“I think BizSpark is a great initiative,” says van Neerven. “It makes development easy for entrepreneurs, especially the free offer from Azure.”

Marc van Neerven, CTO