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PlaceIQ, the New York mobile ad startup taking location-based advertising to new heights

New York’s loca­tion-based mobile adver­tis­ing start­up Pla­ceIQ can’t seem to throw a stone with­out hit­ting an investor or three; even though it wasn’t seek­ing to raise new cap­i­tal, it’s just announced a thump­ing $15 mil­lion Series C cash injec­tion, cour­tesy of a round led by Har­mo­ny Part­ners. New investor Iris Cap­i­tal also par­tic­i­pat­ed, along with exist­ing investors.

From geofenc­ing to loca­tion-based behavior

Those who’ve held media jobs in mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies for any length of time will be aware that, just a few years ago, geofenc­ing was the new kid on the block that every­one was scram­bling to ape. OK, it was clever – smart­phone users walk­ing past a store could be deliv­ered an ad for that store.

But Pla­ceIQ has played a big part in extend­ing loca­tion-based mar­ket­ing to encom­pass what its CEO, Dun­can McCall, calls “a pro­pri­etary under­stand­ing of the world.” It har­ness­es anonymized loca­tion data to build up a much broad­er pic­ture of smart­phone-user behav­ior, allow­ing adver­tis­ers and agen­cies to not only tar­get ads but track their success.

The platform’s track­ing and attri­bu­tion capa­bil­i­ties are going down a storm amongst mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies and brand adver­tis­ers — and investors clear­ly like what they see. If a trav­el firm wants to entice peo­ple to vis­it a par­tic­u­lar state via a mobile adver­tis­ing cam­paign, Pla­ceIQ can show what pro­por­tion of ad view­ers actu­al­ly paid a vis­it after they’d seen the commercial.

Big expan­sion plans

Found­ed four years ago in 2010, the com­pa­ny achieved prof­itabil­i­ty last year while its staff head­count soared by 444 per­cent (that’s 70 new employ­ees in plain num­ber talk). It also raised a hand­some $6.75 mil­lion in Series B last May.

McCall says that he’d actu­al­ly told investors that Pla­ceIQ wasn’t cur­rent­ly look­ing to raise any new funds for the time-being, but they kept on show­ing an inter­est any­way. So he decid­ed to take a look at the offers that kept land­ing on his desk­top and decid­ed that there was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to grow. The use of loca­tion data, he believes, can be extend­ed beyond mobile adver­tis­ing. As he puts it, “It’s sort of the next fron­tier for under­stand­ing con­sumer behavior.”

Already work­ing with Pub­li­cis agency SME, Pla­ceIQ is now part­ner­ing with Groupe’s inno­v­a­tive Viva­Ki divi­sion to take its tech­nol­o­gy to all of the ad giant’s agencies.

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