With $13.1 million, Wayin will expand internationally and encourage women in tech

Christine Schmidt

File 28724

Wayin, a three-year-old social intelligence and display company, announced a $13.1 million round today to expand up (as in the number of services the company offers) and expand out (by recruiting more women to get involved in tech), president and CEO Elaine Wood said.

Wayin’s January acquisition of Argentina-based Comenta TV and a future contract with Tumblr, which will help to display users’ interactions with clients’ brands, are just two ways Wayin is expanding as it moves forward.

“We are a full, live-cycle management solution for social [media engagement] and the money is spent on building out that platform even more. Comenta TV really filled out the fourth leg of our display so that would be online, mobile and in-venue, and now TV,” Wood said, highlighting future plans as “building out the enterprise-grade solution [with the analytics capabilities] and our international presence and solutions. We have a very strong team in Japan, in Hong Kong, in Latin America. We’re using some of this money to go big in Europe and other markets.”

In this round, major investors included U.S. Venture Partners, Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, TV producer Burt Sugarman and his wife TV personality Mary Hart, and Michael Meldman of the Discovery Land Co.

“I’m very proud to say it’s the same shareholders who came forward for Series C in the past—they doubled down on us,” Wood said.

In addition, Wood also hopes to encourage women of all generations to get involved in technology and digital companies. As a mom who returned to the workforce after working from home, Wood said she realized the difference in focus that being a mother can bring to a company, as well as the importance of getting younger girls interested in tech companies early on.

“Part of it is just the diversity in helping not only the start-up but encouraging other women to be part of start-ups and leadership in startups,” Wood said.

She said she is already informally involved with efforts to bring more women into tech, though she hopes Wayin will help support those efforts in a more tangible way, pointing out that 30 percent of the company’s employees are women compared to having just one woman on the team over a year ago.

“It’s amazing to me the small number of women in tech fields that are graduating from college,” she said. “We’re getting very involved with CU Boulder and CSU and recruiting and going back and helping and mentoring at the universities to let women know it’s a viable career choice and it’s fun.”

Wayin was founded in Denver by Scott McNealy in 2011 as a company originally focused on second-screen engagement. It pivoted about a year and a half ago to concentrate on incorporating consumer engagement from established social media networks and displaying the data in one place on a social media hub on the client’s website for all users to view and interact with. Wayin’s list of more than 100 clients includes the Denver Broncos, the Weather Channel, and Emory University, and the company has almost 50 total employees.

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