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Mark Cuban 'fired up' to join team at East Liberty firm CivicScience

| Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 12:08 p.m.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban yells at a referee during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Dallas. AP Photo

Mark Cuban, the well-known billionaire entrepreneur, Dallas Mavericks basketball team owner and Mt. Lebanon native, has joined the advisory board of East Liberty polling and data mining company CivicScience Inc.

The company said Cuban will help CivicScience as it aggressively expands into new markets this year.

“CivicScience is one of the most exciting companies I have seen in a long time,” Cuban said in a statement. “Their ability to predict consumer behavior in media, retail sales, and even politics has virtually unlimited potential. I am fired up to join the team.”

CivicScience offers three-question polls on hundreds of websites, including the Tribune-Review and many other news media sites around the country. The company uses the polling data to create custom survey products, brand and media tracking, and predictive software tools.

“Mark is exactly the kind of person we need supporting our company as we expand,” CEO John Dick said in the statement. “His expertise in our target markets, not to mention his remarkable track record of building valuable companies, can help take us to that next level.”

Cuban, who has not invested in CivicScience, will serve on the advisory board for four years and will provide marketing and product development advice, with a focus on music, sports and finance industries.

Cuban could not be reached for comment.

Dick said he “cold-called” Cuban via email to see if he was interested in helping CivicScience.

“It sparked this lengthy dialogue about our business, where he saw opportunities, and how he could help,” Dick said. “I flew to Dallas a couple weeks ago to meet with his team, and now here we are.”

Dick, 37, founded CivicScience in 2008 to take advantage of the web as a source for polling data. The 14-employee company moved to new offices in East Liberty last month, and Dick has said he expects sales to increase by 500 percent this year.

Dick said he was not sure if Cuban, who is active on social media, would respond to the email pitch.

“I had heard he was accessible, but you never know,” he said.

CivicScience is not Cuban's first involvement with a Pittsburgh company. In 2009, he led a $1.4 million fundraising round for Smash Technologies Inc., a South Side company developing mobile phone texting technology.

The 54-year-old Cuban, who moved to Dallas in 1982, co-founded pioneering online audio streamer Audionet, which was sold to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999.

He bought the Mavericks in 2000.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

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