These might seem like tough times for NFC-based mobile advertising agencies, given Apple’s decision not to include NFC on the iPhone 5; but that hasn’t stopped Australian mobile advertising start-up Tapit from bagging an impressive $2.3 million in Series A funding.
Does NFC have a future?
The iPhone 5 effect is believed to have delayed Near Field Communication by two years in Western Europe and the U.S., but it seems that things are different in Sydney. Tapit’s deal was led by MPC Ventures with participation from Jon Medved’s ourcrowd.com, David Thrum and David Shein.
Much hinges on whether Apple will eventually embrace NFC – if it doesn’t, it’s unlikely to become an internationally standard technology any time soon. But Tapit has a great deal of faith in it as a means of reaching consumers through mobile phones advertising. Here’s how they use it.
Marketing success with NFC
Tapit works with handset makers, carriers, agencies and brands, delivering NFC-based marketing. The latter involves anything from content delivery to social community building, coupon distribution to ticketing, m‑commerce to competitions. It also offers surveys and reviews. As soon as a user taps Tapit’s logo on an NFC-enabled gadget, content is sent directly to the device. And the ingenious thing is that Tapit’s NFC chips can be positioned anywhere, from shelves, signage and windows to posters and packaging. Clients automatically receive metrics about their campaign’s engagement success (or failure).
The startup ran a series of successful campaigns in 2011, with Australia’s “Nova Radio” and TV show “Renovators” amongst them, along with an NFC-based marketing project within a group of shopping centers. Its site now features case studies on campaigns for giant mobile brands like Samsung, Virgin Mobile, HTC and Vodafone and it has an impressive lineup of other clients, too. These include Coca-Cola, Clear Channel, Microsoft, Prudential, Johnson & Johnson, PHD, Telstra and JCDecaux.
Today Australia, tomorrow the world?
With the new cash injection, the company plans to access new regions including India, Mexico, Israel and South Africa. But these are just the beginning of the firm’s international expansion plans. It’s also got its sights set on the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, UAE, Vietnam Japan and may even open a sales and marketing office in China. It’s also likely to benefit from its primary investor’s extensive M&A experience.