Portland startup Little Bird lands $1M led by Mark Cuban

Portland startup Little Bird lands $1M led by Mark Cuban

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland startup Little Bird on Friday is lifting the veil on its social media search tool by announcing a $1 million funding round led by Dallas Mavericks owner and high-profile investor Mark Cuban.

The company is the creation of Marshall Kirkpatrick, a long-time Portland-based tech writer who was the first writer hired at influential tech news site TechCrunch.com and was co-editor of the rival site ReadWriteWeb.com, the Portland Business Journal reported.

Little Bird — previously known as Plexus Engine — is a search tool that helps users more easily discover the most influential and trusted experts in any subject by analyzing data from Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs.

Cuban, whose firm Radical Investments is the lead investor in the round, said via e-mail Friday that online social identity “is becoming a core component of business decisions.”

“(Little Bird) creates the authority and definitions required to make any and all decisions smarter,” Cuban wrote.

Little Bird is something of a cousin to Techmeme, the popular tech site that aggregates the latest technology news from around the Web on a single, curated platform.

“My fantasy has long been to be able to build a Techmeme for any topic,” Kirkpatrick said.

With Little Bird — as in “a little bird told me,” a naming concept that came at the suggestion of the ad wizards at Wieden+Kennedy — users type in a subject, and are presented with a list of suggested Twitter accounts that could serve as the basis for their search.

Little Bird then runs a report identifying the Twitter accounts that are followed by the most “insiders” on that given subject, giving marketers, for example, a useful tool for discovering the movers and shakers in new markets.

The search engine delves deeper, uncovering the hottest content being shared and discussed on that subject that day on an interface comparable to social media site Pinterest.com. Users can also plug in the name of a specific Twitter account to see how connected they are to leaders in a given field.

“This is stuff PR and marketing firms spend a lot of time and resources struggling to do,” Kirkpatrick said. “In fields where they don’t know the topic, it would take days.”

Read the full story in the Portland Business Journal.