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Tapit raises $2.3 million to extend its NFC-based mobile advertising

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, 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.

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