Location data provider Unacast has just raised $5m in a Series A financing round led by Open Ocean Capital. The company that collects beacon data across global ad solution providers, plans to use the cash to invest in the technology and expand its team to 30 people. Headquartered in Oslo, Unacast will be growing its team of engineers in the city and add account managers to its NYC office.
Unacast raises $5m to expand beacon solutions
In partnering with Oracle, MediaMath and Opera the company has been quick to establish itself as a serious aggregator of beacons. It now has a network of 1.4m beacons and 50 worldwide partners.
Beacon technology has been slow to catch on, but developed to add real scale. Unacast has evolved to approve and tag offline behavioural data for usage in DSPs.
Thomas Walle, CEO and Co-Founder, Unacast, explains:
“Sensors are just sensors, and someone needs to attach context to them, to add metadata that says, ‘This sensor is placed in the shoe department of this particular retailer.’ Retailers are only really going to understand offline consumer behavior if they have the full picture, and to get the full picture you need to work with as many proximity companies as possible.”
Beacons are a main focus of the retail industry, hoping to increase in-store foot traffic. However, some consumers have become concerned about privacy. Whilst 2015 seems to have been the year to test the technology, 2016 is more likely to drive an expansion in beacon capabilities.
Indeed, the use of beacons was forecast to make a $7.5bn impact in spending from Millennials over the holiday period last year. According to inMarket research, Millennials are a key demographic when it comes to utilising such data as they are heavy mobile device users.
Stephen Statler at Statler Consulting expects more than one million beacons to be purchased to be deployed across US retail locations this year. An ABI Research report even finds that total BLE Beacon shipments will exceed 400m units by 2020.
“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.”