Ex-aQuantive, AdECN and AOL execs form stealthy SocialForce

A new Seattle area startup company led by several online advertising executives is kicking around a new idea that it describes as “industrial-strength influencer marketing.” Not too much is known at this point about SocialForce, whose Web site simply boasts a logo.

And Chief Executive William Urschel, the former CEO of AdECN, a Santa Barbara, California online ad exchange that was sold to Microsoft in 2007, tells GeekWire that they are staying under the covers until at least until this summer.

“I can tell you that our goal with SocialForce is industrial-strength influencer marketing on a grand scale – way deeper than the social network scrapers like Klout and PeerIndex, or the link trackers like ShareThis and ClearSpring, or the influencer ad networks like RadiumOne or NetShelter, although we encompass elements of all of them,” said Urschel.

William Urschel

SocialForce has pilot programs starting with two major ad agencies and a third pilot slated with a local retailer. But it doesn’t expect full results from those until August. In addition to Urschel, the team consists of Rick Bohrer, a former Microsoft engineer and CTO of aQuantive’s Atlas unit; and John Underwood, a former vice president of AIM Instant Messenger at AOL and the founder of WeTutor.

Underwood and Bohrer both attended the University of Washington, while Bohrer and Urschel worked together at Microsoft after the acquisitions of AdECN and aQuantive.

At this point, the team is bankrolling SocialForce on their own, with a small outside investment from Mercer Island venture fund Keeler Investments Group. Keeler’s Brock Mansfield is listed as director of the company, which plans to raise a series A financing round later this year.

  • http://kickstand.typepad.com jordanmitchell

    Definitely one to watch …

  • A Guy

    Considering that AdECN was a giant scam, (it never worked and was eventually shelved by Microsoft –  this one will probably be along the same lines…

  • Michael

    I worked with Rick at aQuantive. With him involved, I’d give them a strong possibility of succeeding.

  • Michael

    I worked with Rick at aQuantive. With him involved, I’d give them a strong possibility of succeeding.