Unified is announcing that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding, plus a $10 million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank.
That sounds like a nice chunk of change, but equally noteworthy is the fact that the equity funding was led by iHeartMedia (the radio and digital media company formerly known as Clear Channel). The two companies previously announced a strategic partnership to develop custom products for advertisers, as well as an investment of undisclosed size.
“We specifically chose iHeart because of the strategic value they brought to table in terms of data sets — it’s not just cash,” said Calvin Lui, Unified’s president and chief strategy officer. After all, Lui noted that in addition to its social advertising business, Unified aims to bring data together from a variety of marketing channels, an approach he contrasted with other social marketing companies that are mere “point solutions.”
“We have such rolling momentum with these major brands that we continue to win flagship relationships with, and all of that is premised on having a system of record for all of our data, so we can collect information from multiple sources, extract value and execute against that,” Lui said.
The new money will allow Unified to continue developing its product and find new markets. Lui emphasized that that doesn’t just mean geographic expansion but also adding new products.
Specifically, Vice President of Corporate Communications Dave Donohue said the company plans to expand its data offerings beyond social media, starting with broadcast advertising — another area where it would make sense to work with iHeartMedia. (To be clear, while Unified expands its data business, the ad-buying product will remain focused on social media.)
It’s been more than three years since Unified announced raising a $14 million Series A. Asked why the company waited so long to raise more money, Lui said that the team knows how to “deploy capital very efficiently.”
“We understand that there are cycles to the business and the industry and we’re here for the long-term,” he added.
Unified customers include Tesla, 22Squared, Lenovo and Toyota. Other investors in the Series B include Advance Publications, Upfront Ventures and Foundry Group.
Over the past couple of years, Unified also acquired analytics companies Awe.sm and PageLever. Donohue said the company is open to making more acquisitions, “but this round isn’t aimed at funding acquisitions.”