A trio of marketing automation companies founded in Europe have this week announced separate funding rounds collectively amounting to more than $35m in a sign that venture capital, private equity sources plus strategic players are still willing to invest in the sector.
Location-based services outfit Unacast ($17.5m Series B), mobile marketing platform Adikteev ($12m Series B) plus automated native advertising unit PowerLinks ($6.1m Series A) announced the funding rounds on February 13.
Each raised the funds with the goal of international expansion at a time of shifting expectations among investors in the sector, while many of their contemporaries have had to moderate their own ambitions.
Founded in Oslo, Norway, Unacast is now headquartered in the US, with its latest raise from venture capital (VC) outfits White Star Capital, OpenOcean Capital Investinor joined by Telia, a Sweden-based telco, taking its total financial backing to more than $20m.
The outfit uses location data to help businesses in multiple verticals better understand consumer behavior such as helping TV advertisers correlate media spend with offline purchases, and now aims to further its presence in Europe.
Christian Hernandez Gallardo, White Star Capital managing partner, and former Facebook EMEA director, described the space as nascent.
“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,” he added.
Meanwhile, Brendan Ives, Telia Company’s head of Division X, said: “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 personalized experiences to their end users.”
Meanwhile, mobile marketing outfit Adikteev will also use its Series B round from Ring Capital, BNP Developpment, ISAI, Ventech and Laurent Asscher to expand beyond its France base, particularly in North America.
The Series B funding round is its third such cash-injection – earlier rounds totaled $2.2m – with the company’s specializing in ad retargeting as well as dynamic creative optimization on mobile devices.
Elsewhere, UK-based PowerLinks will use its $6.1m round led by Foresight Group, with participation from leading angel investors and management, further the roll out its automated native advertising platform in the US.
As part of the investment, PowerLinks will also see digital advertising stalwart Alex Rahaman join its leadership team as chairman while Mickey Christodoulides will join as finance director.
John Cordery, Foresight Group, investment manager, said the PowerLinks round would enable it to help accelerate its “exceptional growth”, with the latest round taking its funding haul to more than $10m.
Rahaman said programmatic native advertising was at an inflection point with the company well placed to take advantage of its potential.
Kevin Flood, PowerLinks, chief executive officer, added: “We are delighted to have Foresight’s backing and shared vision. The Foresight team, together with the recent appointments of Alex and Mickey, will inject a wealth of experience in scaling transformative digital businesses.”
The separate moves come a little under a month after fellow data company Eyeota raised a Series B round of $12.5m from investors including Jolt Capital SAS, Project A Ventures and Qualgro to likewise bolster its growth in North America.
Speaking at the time, Kevin Tan, Eyeota chief executive officer, said: “The advertising and marketing disciplines are driving a significant expansion in how data is applied from traditional targeting to custom segmentation, creative personalization, A/B testing and AI.
“This new round of funding allows us to enrich our audience and supply solutions as well as provide us the opportunity to scale our operations with new data, new products, and to strengthen our presence across each region through strategic hires and new partnerships.”