Apparently, telecom operators are sitting on a huge amount of unique customer data that could provide much-needed revenue by being packaged up and sold to mobile advertisers and content providers to help them better target users. Or so says Zeotap, a startup that provides technology to enable telcos and marketers to unlock this potential treasure trove of user data.
The Berlin-headquarted company has just raised $6.4 million in Series A funding from Capnamic Ventures, Iris Capital, a number of fairly prominent angels and existing investors. It plans to use the new capital to further develop the platform and grow its engineering team in Bangalore, India, and to increase its presence in the U.S., including opening an office in New York.
Zeotap co-founder and Chief Product Officer Projjol Banerjea tells me that for mobile advertisers the problem Zeotap is attempting to solve is the “severe shortage” of high-quality targeting data.
More specifically he says that app developers don’t know much about their audiences and, since traditional tracking technologies such as cookies don’t work, reaching specific audience segments and tracking ROI is “almost impossible.”
Enter the major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) who, says Banerjea, are sitting on a “gold mine of user data,” which is comparable or even superior to that held by the likes of Facebook and Google. Zeotap’s platform lets MNOs unlock that data and sell it to advertisers for targeting on mobile, while claiming to also protect users’ privacy by removing any personally identifiable information.
“We’re also beginning to work with publishers to improve content delivery, to make content more relevant for users. Users benefit from superior experiences, both in terms of tailored, relevant content and advertising. In fact, better-targeted premium campaigns from brands will lead to fewer ads, in general, and eliminate low-quality advertising from mobile,” he says.
Meanwhile, the list of angels joining Zeotap’s Series A include Michael Halbherr, the former CEO of Nokia’s recently sold mapping division HERE; Steffen Roehn, former CIO of Deutsche Telekom Group; Devin Guan, co-Founder and CTO of Drawbridge and previously a founding member of AdMob’s optimization team (acquired by Google); and Peter Scheufen, previously CEO of Skobbler (acquired by Telenav) and prior to that founder of Navigon (acquired by Garmin).