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Srinivas Penumaka

There’s no shortage of folks developing tools to help companies make sense out of social networking chatter. Last year, gobbled up Radian6 for up to $326 million, while other Seattle upstarts such as Prosodic, Simply Measured and Visible Technologies also are attacking the opportunity.

Nonetheless, despite the competition, ReadyPulse — founded by former Microsoft employees Srinivas Penumaka, T Vinod Gupta and Mihir Vaidya — believes it can make inroads. The Seattle area company just launched what it calls a “brand advocate builder” designed to create “champions that buy more, share more, and promote your brand for you.”

We chatted with co-founder and president Penumaka for the latest installent of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “ReadyPulse helps marketers convert passive audience to brand advocates with audience, content scoring, segmentation, leaderboard and analytics.”

Inspiration hit us when: “We realized that social marketers are spending a lot of effort in figuring things out and everything was being done in an experimental basis. We saw the opportunity to help marketers realize their business goals of driving revenue and helping them take advantage of the direct correlation between their business success and social media marketing. Typically marketers have been focused on amassing numbers, not focused on quality. Social Brand Advocacy helps discern and drive the fans and followers for greater revenue.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Seed round.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our ability to understand user behavior and provide recommendations to brands on what works and what doesn’t while applying real time analysis to driving brand advocacy.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Since the beginning we focused on a unique methodology of competitive contrasting to figure out what to do for social marketers. It is a natural opportunity to leverage social media transparency to help brands understand and optimize their strategies.

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Designing advanced capabilities that are suitable for 2013 and 2014.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos is a great inspirer to us not just because one of our co-founders is ex-Amazon, but for his vision to turn every internal strategy to a viable business opportunity. Amazon Web Services is a great example of an IT strategy related initiative became a brand new market to drive cloud services.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “We were pretty excited to launch at MarketMix 2012, which was the perfect venue …to talk to marketers who are faced with making sense of social media marketing and realizing returns. We also see the market to be in the beginning stages and have ample need for software that is intelligent and can help marketers reach their business goals with a combination of real-time data analytics, enterprise workflows and configurable goals.”

Rivals should fear us because: “Our customer-centric approach.”

We are truly unique because: “We are a combination of a high energy, experienced team along with a big vision for brand advocacy that is changing the shape of how social marketing is viewed and executed within the enterprise.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Bringing the whole team onboard full-time, which has biggest implications for our success.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Be full-time early, find customers early and focus on delivering the right solution for them from day one.”

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