Kara Swisher

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Clearspring Buys Data Science Start-Up XGraph

Clearspring, the social-sharing company — in an effort to increase its business as a marketing analytics player — has acquired XGraph, a data science company.

Clearspring declined to provide the price it paid for XGraph, but said the deal was in cash and stock. The start-up raised $3.75 million just over a year ago.

The combined company has 85 employees — 70 at Clearspring and 15 at XGraph.

Execs at the the McLean, Va.-based company said the purchase will increase value to advertisers and publishers via audience targeting and data science. Clearspring is best known by consumers for its AddThis social-sharing tool, which provides a lot of detailed user data.

Clearspring raised $20 million in funding in May. At the time, the company said it planned to spend its new cash on acquisitions that leveraged data and built audiences more efficiently.

The New York-based XGraph focuses on modeling and monetizing the Web’s social graph.

“We get a lot of data points every day and making sense of them is something we have already been doing, but XGraph fits the bill to go even further in the multi-graph use of data,” said Clearspring CEO Ramsey McGrory. “It puts us in a position to be the market leader for the application of data.”

Key Compton, CEO and co-founder of the three-year-old XGraph, noted that the industry has become data-driven in new ways.

“People are connected to each other via social connections in a multi-graph platform,” said Compton. “I think there are some really interesting opportunities to access the data.”

Here’s the official press release for the deal:

Clearspring Acquires XGraph to Create Largest Multi-Graph on the Open Web

Company accelerates growth by deepening data team and technology

McLean, VA and New York. NY. — November 1, 2011 — Clearspring, provider of the largest social sharing and analytics platform, AddThis, announced today it has acquired XGraph, Inc., a leading data science company focused on modeling and monetizing the web-wide social graph. Clearspring’s massive reach and proprietary real-time data processing capability, coupled with XGraph’s audience technology, create the largest multi-graph platform on the web — mapping 1.2 billion user’s connections by brand affiliation, intent and social behavior.

The investment in XGraph’s data science capabilities marks another step on Clearspring’s rapid growth trajectory. XGraph’s team has deep data science expertise with applied backgrounds in advertising, sociology, mathematics and computer science. Their unique technology dynamically organizes users by shared connections and interests. XGraph’s team and platform will drive Clearspring’s existing efforts with publishers, advertisers and agencies forward while also setting the stage for new innovation.

“Clearspring is at the epicenter of two major shifts online — the web becoming social and personal, and advertising becoming data-driven and accountable. The common thread in both changes is data. To compete in this new world, companies will not only need the ability to access and process big data, but also have the ability to activate that data to create value for consumers, publishers and advertisers,” said Ramsey McGrory, Clearspring’s new Chief Executive. “The combined company has the people, technology and data to enable our clients to stay at the forefront of these changes. 2012 will be a breakout year for Clearspring.”

For advertisers, agencies and trading desks, Clearspring will immediately be able to provide the largest multi-graph audience targeting capabilities available on the open web. By using this technology to identify a brand’s core audiences and finding millions of other connected and like-minded people online, the company can now drive more efficient spending and increased campaign performance. Clearspring also plans to leverage this new capability to deliver publishers unique audience insights, monetization capabilities and actionable data products in the coming year.

“Most companies only capture one dimension of how we’re all connected, whether it be our friends or people we share with — a single graph approach. XGraph not only models these social connections, but also multiple other types of connections such as brand affiliations, intent and more — a multi-graph approach,” said Key Compton, XGraph’s CEO. “We’re truly excited to leverage our technology to unlock the value of Clearspring’s massive data set and help publishers and advertisers truly harness the power of the web-wide interest graph.”

XGraph is headquartered in New York with an office in Silicon Valley. All XGraph employees based in New York will join Clearspring’s office there. Clearspring plans to keep the office in Silicon Valley. The combined company will have 85 employees nationwide.

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