Unacast raises $5M to index the physical world

Proximity marketing is maturing as US media veterans invest in Unacast together with European VC Open Ocean Capital

May 17, 2016

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We are proud to have raised a new round of financing at $5 million, to support us on our journey towards delivering the holy grail of advertising, connecting the physical world to the digital, and to continue to build great products for our many proximity partners.

The true battle of relevancy is held in the physical world. After all, online accounts to only 30% of the entire customer journey; the remaining 70% takes place in the real world. Therefore having answers to questions like, how much time does a customer spend in my venue, how many visitors make a purchase, what are the most popular sections in my shop, how much time does an average visitor spend in my store can define the success of a brick & mortar business. If having insight into 30% of the customer journey can boost advertising results by more than 100x times, imagine what you can achieve with knowing the customers real life preferences, interests, and shopping habits - the physical world identity.

Press release on the new funding

  • The world’s largest aggregator in the beacon and proximity ecosystem indexes the physical world, already aggregating 30% of all beacons deployed globally
  • Solves industry problem in how brands can use proximity data in targeting and attribution - at scale globally
  • Investment will be used to maintain the #1 position as the maturing proximity industry grows to 400 million sensors in the next years

Unacast, the world’s largest network of beacon and proximity data, connecting the physical world to the digital for online retargeting and attribution, today announced that the company has raised $5 million in a Series A financing round, with Open Ocean Capital, a leading European VC firm for software and data investments, leading the round. VC firm Investinor co-lead the round.

“Like Google indexed the web, Unacast is indexing the physical world”, said Thomas Walle, co-founder and CEO of Unacast.

Thomas continues, “Unacast's ambition is to redefine the proximity and advertising industry, taking a central role in an emerging industry with a great potential for value creation. We do so by taking the role as the #1 aggregator of proximity, mirroring the accuracy of data collection in the online world to the offline world, and in effect finally understanding a customer's physical world identity.”

Huge growth set to continue

“The methodology behind Unacast proximity data is truly unique. It’s key for an increasingly data-driven marketing industry to introduce new and accurate data sets”, said Jeremy Sigel. Global Director of Partnerships & Emerging Media from WPP, the world’s largest media holding company.

The number of beacons deployed worldwide is forecasted to grow  to 400 million beacons in 2020. Unacast already has partnerships with 52 of the largest PSP’s, and covers 1.4m (30%) of the world’s beacons—making Unacast the largest aggregator in the growing proximity ecosystem.

Unacast connects these data sets to global ad platforms through partnerships with marquee players such as Oracle, MediaMath, Opera, Lotame and Adform to enable digital ad retargeting based on accurate and deterministic physical behavior.

Experienced media investors believe in proximity and Unacast

In addition to Open Ocean Capital, the team behind MySQL which was sold to Sun Microsystems, and Investinor, investors in the Series A round include NYC adtech veterans Jonah Goodhart of Moat and formerly Right Media (sold to Yahoo) and Michael Barrett, former CEO of Millennial Media, which he took public, Jason Kelly, former President of Millennial Media and CRO of Admeld, acquired by AOL and Google respectively, and Bill Wise, former President of Right Media, acquired by Yahoo, and now the CEO of MediaOcean.

“The Unacast team has a tremendous vision for merchandizing proximity data and serving the data-driven ad industry,” says Michael Barrett, Unacast investor, and previous CEO of Millennial Media.

Thomas Walle continued, “Our goal is to connect all sensors in the world to one platform, and it was important for us to work with investors with industry knowledge and substantial lifting power. This new round enables us to radically accelerate our growth worldwide and scale Unacast’s platform to power the demand from the major global marketing platforms"

We would like to thank all of our partners and friends who have supported us on our journey so far; this is only the beginning. If you believe that accurate location data will not only redefine the advertising industry but the entire world around us and are passionate about our battle of relevancy, we look forward to hearing from you.

Join us at http://thetwenty.jobs/

Selected press covering the funding

US press:

Norwegian press: