Founder Roland Rijpma

Few people would place data management on par with the Paris to Dakar rally when it comes to thrills and adventure. But, to retired data-scientist turned rally driver, Roland Rijpma the mountains of data created by the explosive growth of the social media were becoming just as exciting as the arid dunes of north Africa.

It was a research thesis by university student Thomas Slabbers that tipped the balance in the favor of data, and set the stage for Roland’s “un-retirement”.

Founder Thomas Slabbers

The paper: You are who you follow — A deeper analysis of how people act on Twitter crystalized Roland’s thoughts on the unprecedented opportunity presented by the rapidly growing amounts of publicly available data generated by the social media.


In July 2013, Roland, Thomas, and data engineer Peter Versteegen joined forces to found Socialdatabase. Beginning with publicly accessible Twitter data, it was not long before their data-complexity approach to analytics proved to be uniquely successful at generating fact-backed insights, and defining behaviorally predictive audiences.

Soon Socialdatabase’s servers were running 24/7, devouring, re-categorizing, and analyzing massive amounts of data. By 2015 this unprecedented appetite for data had not gone unnoticed by Twitter who asked for an explanation.

At a meeting in Twitter’s San Francisco HQ Thomas explained how Socialdatabase had downloaded, completely restructured, and analyzed the Twitter database. Twitter was surprised by the size, and effectiveness of this data restructuring. They immediately recognized that Socialdatabase had such a clear understanding of the Twitter database. Twitter was more than impressed. Rather than objecting to this as an overstep, the result of the meeting was an invitation to become a Twitter ads API partner. This opened doors to even more of Twitter's database, and with that, even deeper understanding.

Since 2013 Socialdatabase has grown from a single server, to a database of over 23 trillion structured data points. Today we are a Twitter Official Partner. With offices in Amsterdam, New York and Dubai, we deliver tailored audiences and insights to clients including Twitter, Google, Nike, Heineken, Philips, Nutricia, Samsung, and Slack.

Thomas Slabbers continues to run daily operations from Amsterdam, while Roland Rijpma focuses on improving, and enlarging our database, and keeping his entrepreneurial eyes open for the next exciting opportunity.