Drew Thomson, the former boss of Air Miles, has reunited Sir Terry Leahy with Clive Humby and Edwina Dunn as major investors in Starcount, the social media insight business he set up three years ago.
Leahy is the latest in a number of prominent investors who have ploughed $10m (£6m) into the company, which is aiming to sell analysis and insights from the data it gathers from tapping into 1.7 billion consumers’ social network conversations around the world.
His investment follows that of Dunn and Humby, who folded their H&D Ventures into Starcount last year, and reunites the original team behind the Tesco Clubcard programme.
Starcount, which plans to boost its headcount from 56 to 140 by the end of the year, is expected to sign up its first client by the end of next month.
Leahy told The Sunday Times: “Brand owners today work on incredibly short time frames. They don’t have a long perspective to see what motivates people and what drives change.
“Having an objective partner who can interrogate data over an extended period of time can give a very different picture.”
Dunn added: “Knowing your customers just got harder. You don’t know what they are saying on social networks. It used to be about what the individual bought, but social media is much more complex. It’s not about one person, but the communities and connections that they share.”
Thomson’s (pictured) first major role was as finance director of global sales and marketing at British Airways in 1994, before he became managing director of Air Miles (now Avios) in 1999. He was also chairman of Iris between 2007 and 2010.
Dunn and Humby target social media
Dunn tells Facebook; ‘be more open’
Dunn and Humby target theatreland
Leahy: Tesco’s had big data for years
Dunn and Humby finally exit
Clive Humby: ‘Big data isn’t scary’