Interesting news from the NFC front today: despite recent reports that the iPhone 5’s lack of NFC has set the market back by two years in the U.S. and Western Europe, an NFC-based mobile advertising startup known as Tapit has closed on a $2.3 million in Series A funding. Maybe being based in Sydney, Australia helps in this case.
The round was led by MPC Ventures Pty Limited, a subsidiary of Monash Private Capital, also based in Sydney. Participating in the round, too, were David Shein and David Thrum and Jon Medved’s ourcrowd.com.
Founded in March 2011, the company had previously raised seed funding from Sydney Angels. At the time of that funding – August of last year – it was the fastest investment the angel investing group had ever made, at just 22 days from pitch to funding. The size of the seed round was not disclosed, but Sydney Angels usually invests between $100K-$500K.
For those unfamiliar, Tapit’s focus is on leveraging NFC for advertising and marketing campaigns. While NFC may not ever become an international standard for making purchases (a lot of this will depend on what Apple decides to do, of course), Tapit still believes in its potential as a way to reach consumers. The company works with agencies, brands, handset makers and carriers to offer them marketing services involving mobile commerce, coupon distribution, ticketing, surveys, reviews, content delivery, competition, social community building and more. Basically, almost anything that could leverage NFC.
Interactions take place by tapping the Tapit logo with an NFC-enabled device. These Tapit-branded NFC chips can placed anywhere – on posters, product packages, stuck to windows, shelves, signage, etc. After tapping, the content is delivered to the consumer’s device, and clients are sent reports detailing the engagement metrics associated with their campaign.
The company ran several campaigns last year, including one with Australian radio group Nova Radio, another for Australia’s Channel 10 TV show “Renovators,” and a third involving an NFC-based marketing within shopping centers. It is now featuring case studies on its site for other big mobile brands including Samsung, which used Tapit at retail stores, as well as campaigns with Vodafone, HTC, Virgin Mobile, and more.
Other clients include Microsoft, Telstra, PHD, Universal McCann, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Prudential, Clear Channel, JCDecaux, and Coca-Cola. Below is a video of Tapit’s work with Microsoft on the Halo 4 launch.
Through Monash’s investment, the company will gain access to additional regions, including South Africa, Israel, India and Mexico, where it can focus on its international expansion plans. Tapit also says it will expand its sales and marketing teams in the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Japan, Vietnam, UAE, Singapore and possibly China. Monash has M&A experience, too, which could aid in Tapit’s international expansion plans.