W2O has acquired Symplur, a healthcare-specific social media analytics platform.
The acquisition adds Symplur’s platform and analytics capabilities to W2O’s technology division. The platform specifically tracks social media activity for physicians, patient advocates, life science professionals, media and other relevant healthcare audiences, blocking out noise from the general public or non-healthcare figures.
“We’re unique because when you’re focused you’re allowed to do things differently,” said Audun Utengen, co-founder and CEO of Symplur. “Everything in our tool algorithm is tweaked and optimized for healthcare. That’s very important because it reduces the noise that other tools have when the whole general public is talking about an issue, important voices are often drowned out. From our point of view, we need to listen to these voices that are otherwise being overlooked.”
Utengen noted that Symplur’s platform is especially relevant during the COVID-19 crisis, a time when all of social media seems to be discussing the same issue and often drowning out those relevant healthcare voices.
In fact, W2O already tapped into the Symplur platform to create a coronavirus media tracking tool with the California Life Sciences Association. That dashboard tracks the top news, hashtags, social voices and tweets.
Symplur will be rebranded as W2O symplur. The deal brings new scale to the small company, allowing the team to access more data and tap into W2O’s scale, Utengen said.
This deal is W2O’s fifth acquisition since it received an investment from private equity firm New Mountain Capital last May.
The acquisition brings together two key capabilities for W2O, said Adam Cossman, W2O’s group president and managing partner for technology products and solutions.
“We think about this capability in two different camps, one is audience-specific analytics and data and the other is around activation and measurement,” he said. “We are looking to connect those dots. Some firms deep on the communications side double down on audience and others focus on the tech and data stack. With Symplur, both sides will be coming together. Symplur fits a nice void we have in terms of having a public facing product to enrich that data taxonomy.”
The acquisition doesn’t add many staff to W2O, said CEO Jim Weiss, but the leaders believe the deal will push its technology capabilities forward and plan to expand the tech division in the coming months. Weiss expects the company’s tech pillar, which currently has about 150 staff, to reach “a couple hundred” by the end of the year.
“We believe in Symplur because of how it’s engineered. We think it’ll make it more readily scalable both within our own organization and in a multi-disciplinary capacity,” Weiss said. “The platform will also be something we can develop into future products. Adding the features in the platform, and [Utengen] and his engineers, helps us advance this even more quickly.”