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.