Series A


What: As part of an effort to boost the beacon market, Norwegian startup Unacast announced a US$5 million Series A financing round, with European VC firm Open Ocean Capital leading the round. VC firm Investinor co-lead the round.
Why it matters: The funding brings the company’s total funding to US$6.6 million. Investment will be used to maintain the #1 position as the maturing proximity industry grows to 400 million sensors in the next years.

laThe global largest network of beacon and proximity data Unacast, which connects the physical world to the digital for online retargeting and attribution, has announced that the company has raised US$5 million in a Series A financing round, with Open Ocean Capital, a European VC firm for software and data investments, leading the round. VC firm Investinor co-lead the round. The funding brings the company’s total funding to US$6.6 million.

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 it the largest aggregator in the growing proximity ecosystem.

The company is adding data scientists in Oslo, where the engineering team is based, and account managers in New York, according to company CEO and co-founder Thomas Walle.

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

The number of beacons deployed worldwide is forecasted to grow to 400 million beacons in 2020

Huge growth set to continue

While beacon technology has been available for years, many retailers haven’t gone beyond the experimentation phase, gravitating toward real-time messaging, in-aisle ad targeting and proximity-triggered push messaging, according to Adexchanger. The beacon technology has also been criticized for its lack of scale. The real value of beacons will come when all of those disparate sources are housed in a single network, according to Walle.

Unacast connects 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.

The new funding solves industry problem in how brands can use proximity data in targeting and attribution – at scale globally.

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”

“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 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.

Unacast was founded in 2014 and launched in 2015. The company has four offices, including London, New York, San Francisco and its headquarters in Oslo.

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