NEW YORK, NY, Unacast, the leading contextual and transparent location data platform, today announced that is has raised $17.5 million in a new funding round, exceeding its initial goals.
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The round was led by Transatlantic fund White Star Capital, and joined by strategic investor Telia, a leading European telco, and co-led by existing investors Open Ocean Capital and Investinor, the Norwegian government-backed investment company, both increasing their commitments.
Founded in Oslo, Norway and now headquartered in New York City, Unacast is on a mission to understand human movement and behavior in the real world, empowering companies across a wide range of industries to better understand how people move, act and behave while maintaining and protecting user privacy. With clients in marketing technology, research and analytics, finance, governments, and city planning, Unacast will continue to expand the use of its human movement and behavior data throughout 2018, engaging across more verticals than any other company in the location data intelligence space and expanding into the European market.
The funding will be instrumental in company expansion and in educating businesses on how the use of high-quality, transparent location data can arm them with the information they need to make better decisions and build the next generation of products and services. Unacast data can be applied across a wide range of industries and use cases. Most recently, Unacast partnered with TVadSync, creators of a TV Audience Platform, to help them connect the dots between TV, digital and offline through opportunities like linking brand TV spots and online video interaction to audience location visit propensity and understanding the location behaviors of TV audiences. Other use cases across industries range from retargeting and attribution for marketing technology providers to foot traffic trends that inform market predictions and population behavior insights for research reports.
"When we input Unacast's data into our neural networks, we saw a significant increase in model accuracy -- giving marketers even more powerful deep learning solutions and helping advertisers to drive better returns on their media investment," said Jeremy Fain, CEO and founder of Cognitiv, "Unacast data enabled improvements in algorithms that led to an increase in accuracy and a decrease in wasted impressions. We look forward to our continued partnership with Unacast as its data helps us describe the intricacies of daily human behavior more completely."
Unacast will be expanding its global presence while maintaining the Nordic values of quality and transparency that have always been at the heart of its business, product development and working culture. The latest round of funding will be dedicated to continually improving the company's overall data quality, ensuring that Unacast is representing real-world behavior data as accurately and transparently as possible. The company plans to invest heavily in product and innovation in 2018, while continuing to make strategic hires to strengthen its leading position.
"The location and human behavior data space is still nascent, but Unacast has proven that it is one of the most trusted names in the market," said Christian Hernandez Gallardo, managing partner at White Star Capital and former head of international partnerships for Facebook, "Location is a complex data set to interpret and understand, and as the segment grows and businesses require not just data, but the context to extract value from it, they will have a greater need of partners that can support them. Both the industry and Unacast have grown substantially in a relatively short time, and we believe Unacast is primed to extend its leadership position throughout."
"By investing and forming a partnership between Unacast and Division X, Telia's unit for emerging businesses and innovation hub, we can combine our datasets and offer real-time and richer insights to support a wider range of customer needs," said Brendan Ives, Head of Division X at Telia Company, "Over time, as more industries get connected we foresee the need for data orchestration, so that companies can share and trade data in a secure and trustworthy way, and provide more seamless and personalised experiences to their end users."
"Unacast has built the leading global location platform," says investment director Jon Ã˜yvind Eriksen of Investinor. "The company is well position to capture a substantial part of real-world data market, which is estimated to be worth $5 billion USD by 2020, according to market analysts."
"Trust, both to data partners and clients, is crucial to what we do as a company," said Thomas Walle, CEO and co-founder of Unacast. "Our goal is to understand how people move about the real world, and present the best possible contextualized data so that businesses can build better products and make better decisions. That is not a trivial task, but this new funding will allow us to accelerate our investment in innovation and quality products for our partners, clients and the ecosystem."
How it Works
Unacast is a transparent source of high-quality location data. Through its network of location data partners, Unacast's advanced filtering algorithms ensure all data that ends up in the Real World GraphÂ© is true visits, meaning the company knows both the device and the context of visits. This data is coupled with other location signals to provide the full picture of a user's behavior in the real world while maintaining and respecting user privacy --enabling Unacast to extract a deeper understanding of the data within seconds and pass that knowledge onto its clients, including Amobee, Blis, SITO Mobile, Cognitiv, Qualia, TVadSync and others who use the data to make greater products and better decisions.
Over the past 18 months, Unacast has grown alongside the nascent real-world location data industry. Client adoption has accelerated, and more than 100 location based partners now share their data directly with Unacast. Meanwhile, the company has quadrupled in staff size, growing to 40 employees across the U.S. and Norway while maintaining a strong Nordic working culture. This emphasis on people and culture has garnered the company multiple awards, most recently winning the 2017 Tech Culture Award from CNET. Founders Thomas Walle and Kjartan Slette were also part of the founding team behind TIDAL, the music-streaming service company acquired by Jay-Z.
Unacast is the leading transparent, contextualized location data platform. We aim to empower companies and individuals by providing the most accurate understanding of human activity in the real world. Unacast empowers the next generation of data-driven industries with unique and highly accurate data sets and insights, built on a foundation of double-deterministic location data from our proprietary Real World Graph.
Unacast, founded in Oslo, Norway and now headquartered in NYC, was founded by Thomas Walle and Kjartan Slette, who were also part of the founding team behind TIDAL, the music streaming company acquired by Jay-Z. Unacast has garnered multiple awards for its platform, campaigns and for its company culture, including Best New Company at the Nordic Startup Awards. Inc. Magazine has called Unacast "The Startup That Just Might Threaten Google."
About White Star Capital
White Star Capital is an early-stage Venture Capital firm that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs building ambitious, data-driven businesses. Based out of London, New York, Montreal, Paris and Tokyo our international presence, perspective and people enable us to partner closely with our Founders to help them scale internationally from Series A onwards. Find out more about how we venture beyond at www.whitestarvc.com.
Investinor is an evergreen multi-stage venture capital investment company funded by the Norwegian government. Investinor always syndicates its investments with other investors, and aims to be a gateway to Norway for international venture capital investors. Investinor is the largest venture capital investor in Norway, and manages NOK 4.2 billion (MUSD 540). More info at www.investinor.no/en/
About OpenOcean Capital
OpenOcean backs relentless entrepreneurs to build global winners. We like companies founded in deep technological breakthrough; with large user-bases; that disrupt existing markets; handle large amounts of data; crack serious technical challenges and sell their products to other businesses. We see 'delicious' software is the core of enduring businesses: software that is not simply easy to use, but easy to love, that delivers better products and faster scaling.
OpenOcean is a team of entrepreneurs, developers, and executives with the experience of building billion dollar companies, including MySQL, coupled with hunger and determination to continue learning.
About Telia Company
We're Telia Company, the New Generation Telco. Our 21,000 talented colleagues serve millions of customers every day in one of the world's most connected regions. With a strong connectivity base, we're the hub in the digital ecosystem, empowering people, companies and societies to stay in touch with everything that matters 24/7/365 - on their terms. Headquartered in Stockholm, the heart of innovation and technology, we're set to change the industry and bring the world even closer for our customers. Read more at www.teliacompany.com.