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Hootsuite eyes acquisitions after $165m venture capital boost

HootSuite, the company that allows firms to manage and track their social media presence, has raised an additional $165 million (£110 million) to help achieve further growth and aid product development, which may include acquisitions.

The money is being put into the Canadian company by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Accel Partners and existing investor OMERS Ventures.

Four-year-old HootSuite claims over 7 million users globally, who use the "freemium" offering for social media management, social marketing, social customer service and social selling.

The vast majority of users use Hootsuite's free platform, with well under five per cent paying for an extended functionality service.

Enterprise customers include PepsiCo, Virgin, Orange, Sony Music, Telus, HBO, WWF, UPS, and Panasonic, with approaching 240 Fortune 500 companies using it.

Hootsuite's head count has increased from 180 to well over 300 over the last year, located in Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, London, Sydney and other locations.

HootSuite said it will use the additional financing to continue expanding its global reach, accelerate product growth and innovation, invest in additional sales and marketing resources, and "continue evaluating strategic acquisition opportunities".

Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, said, “This capital gives us additional resources to expand quickly and strategically into new markets, innovate rapidly and deliver on our vision around the world."

Jeff Lieberman, manager director of Insight Venture Partners, said, “Insight’s investment will help HootSuite capitalise on the global demand for their solutions, and accelerate the company’s pace of product innovation.”

Ryan Sweeney, managing partner of Accel Partners, said, “As the first institutional investor and largest pre-IPO owner in Facebook, we have long believed in the inevitable relevance of social networks and social media at the consumer level. What’s become apparent is that social channels are also becoming THE manner in which businesses are opting to communicate with their customers and target markets."

With their investment, Leiberman, Sweeney, and John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures, have joined HootSuite’s board of directors.