Location-Focused Ad Startup PlaceIQ Raises $15M More

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PlaceIQ, a startup that uses location data for mobile advertising, is announcing that it has raised $15 million in Series C funding.

The company was founded in 2010, back when most of the interest in location-based ads was focused on geofencing — i.e., if you’re close to a store, you get an ad for that store. CEO Duncan McCall told me that PlaceIQ’s approach is more about “a proprietary understanding of the world,” where location data is used to build a broader profile of user behavior, which in turn can be used for targeting ads and tracking their success.

In 2013, PlaceIQ says its headcount grew by more than 70 employees (444 percent). It claims to have achieved profitability as well, and it raised a $6.75 million round of funding.

So why does it need more money? McCall said that he told investors, “We’re not raising any money,” but VCs continued to show interest, and eventually he looked at the offers and decided that there was an opportunity to expand. He argued that location data can be used for more than mobile ads: “It’s sort of the next frontier for understanding consumer behavior.”

The round was led by Harmony Partners. New investor Iris Capital also participated, as did previous backers from the Series B, including US Venture Partners, IA Ventures, and Valhalla Partners.

PlaceIQ is also expanding its relationship with Publicis Group. The company was already working with Publicis’ agency SMG, but now it’s partnering with the ad giant’s innovation-focused group VivaKi to bring PlaceIQ technology to all Publicis agencies.

One of the big draws of PlaceIQ for agencies and brand advertisers, McCall said, is the fact that it offers them the aforementioned tracking and attribution. For example, if a travel company is running a campaign to convince people to visit a given state, PlaceIQ can tell them how many people actually came after they saw the ad, and if they’d been to the state before.

Update: The company previously told me their headcount grew 543 percent last year, but a spokesman now says the number is 444 percent. This post has been rewritten with the updated number.