Unified raises $14M for ‘social operating platform’ for enterprise

Unified, an enterprise-grade social operating platform, announced Thursday that it had raised $14 million in new financing.
Advance Publications Inc., the company that owns Condé Nast Publications, contributed $10 million, with Silicon Valley bank providing $4 million. Andrew Siegel, Advance Publications’ SVP of strategy and corporate development, who previously led mergers and acquisitions for Yahoo (s yhoo), will be joining Unified’s board.
Launched in January, Unified offers cloud-based technology aimed at helping global brands and agencies execute desktop and mobile campaigns on Facebook (s fb), Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon and other social services through a centralized dashboard. The company said its “social operating platform” streamlines each step of the process — from planning, buying and optimizing campaigns to analyzing earned media and determining returns on the investment — and includes the checks and balances, security and other features needed by enterprise clients.
“The enterprise as we know it… is now required to become the social enterprise,” said CEO and co-founder Sheldon Owen, adding that there hasn’t been an automated marketing platform that really meets the needs of CMOs and their agencies in managing their investment in social media. “We are solving that problem.”
Since launch, the platform has managed more than 3,000 campaigns for more than 200 brands, including Microsoft (s mfst), Bloomberg and GE (s GE). The company has also hired 26 employees. With the new funding, it plans to continue innovation on its platform, recruit more engineering talent and expand its sales and marketing teams. Owen said they saw Advance Publications as a strategic investor because of Siegel’s individual experience, the company’s other investments in firms like Reddit, and the customer opportunity in working with the parent company of Condé Nast.
Unified’s new funding comes on the heels of announcements by Oracle and Salesforce that they are getting into social media marketing through their respective acquisitions of Vitrue and Buddy Media. Both deals mean new enterprise-grade social media management platforms targeting CMOs and indicate growing interest in the space. It’s expected that more acquisitions in social media marketing are on the horizon. Owen said he considers Adobe Social, which launched in March and combines Adobe’s Context Optional/Efficient Frontier acquisition with Omniture analytics technology, to be their biggest competitor at the moment.