NEWS20 October 2009

CIA investment fund backs Visible Technologies

Financials North America

US— Is social media analysis a form of online spying? Blog watcher Visible Technologies might baulk at such a description but, for its new strategic partner, spying is the name of the game.

Visible has signed a technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel, an investment firm launched by the CIA in 1999 to identify and support tools that could serve the national security interests of the US.

No financial terms have been disclosed. The announcement follows news last week that the company’s existing investors, marketing services group WPP and venture capital firm Ignition Partners, had pumped an additional $2m into the business, bringing total funding to date to $23.5m.

In-Q-Tel executive vice president Troy Pearsall described Visible Technologies’ TruCast media monitoring platform as “key to understanding the breadth and depth of the online social landscape”.

An In-Q-Tel spokesman told Wired magazine that it wants Visible to keep track of foreign social media, and give spooks “early-warning detection on how issues are playing internationally”.

The investment firm has previously backed other companies in the online analytics space, including Visual Sciences (now owned by Omniture) and Attensity, a specialist in text analytics.


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