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Social media startup Buzzient leaves Boston, sheds employees, seeks new funding

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 28, 2012 09:51 AM

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When I bumped into Buzzient founder Timothy Jones earlier this year in San Francisco, we talked a bit about why there weren't very many companies from Boston at the conference we were at, which focused on how consumer-oriented technologies were changing the corporate world. Jones' startup listens to what customers are saying about a company, its products, and its customer service in social spheres like Facebook and Twitter, and brings that into existing apps like Oracle and Salesforce. The goal is to help companies access fresher information when making decisions.

Then, yesterday, Jones published a blog post that accused Boston venture capitalists of missing the opportunity to invest in startups that help corporate customers weave social media into their business processes. Jones wrote:

Investors on the west coast ... funded companies such as Lithium, Yammer, Jive and others initially in the community space. Later, a wave of investors funded social tools companies, and marketing/publishing platforms for social media. The response in Boston? Largely crickets.

Now, as we prep for our third consecutive Oracle OpenWorld [the conference starts Sunday in San Francisco], we expect Buzzient to yet again be one of the only companies in the room started in Cambridge/Boston. The real question is whether Enterprise Social Media companies like Buzzient can/will stay in Boston if all the action is elsewhere?

Well, while Jones didn't mention it in his blog post, it turns out that Buzzient has already departed Boston. Though Jones had been a vocal booster of the Innovation District, the company pulled up stakes at its Farnsworth Street offices over the summer, and Jones' LinkedIn profile now lists his location as Kennebunkport, Maine.

Buzzient's head of marketing, Bruce Kasrel, has left the company, as has head of field sales Scott Sullivan. A half-dozen members of the company's engineering team left Buzzient over the summer, according to LinkedIn. Buzzient had just a dozen employees last August, when it announced that it had raised $1.1 million, but Jones at that point said the company was in hiring mode.

When I spoke to him by phone yesterday, Jones wouldn't comment about where Buzzient is moving to, or the company's current situation. But several venture capitalists with whom I spoke said that Buzzient has been trying to raise additional funding.

After yesterday's blog post, Jones tweeted: "That was fast. Within 2 hours of my blog post on Enterprise Social, 2 top [Silicon Valley] VC's book me on their schedules: BOS? -0."

Know any more? Post a comment.

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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