Mobile data startup Zeotap raises €12M

Zeotap, a startup that helps telecom companies sell their data to advertisers, announced today that it has raised €12 million in Series B funding (that’s just under $13 million).

Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Projjol Banerjea told me that while there’s “decent data” available for online advertisers targeting desktop users, things are shakier on the mobile side: “The majority of data available in the market tends to be fairly poor quality.”

Specifically, he said the available data tends to be less reliable because it’s based on “probabilistic modeling.” By using data from the telcos, Banerjea said Zeotap has a wider range of data — including demographics, location and purchase intent — that’s also more reliable because it’s deterministic (which usually means it’s provided by the users themselves).

And while Zeotap started out by working with telcos, Banerjea said other companies (including, according to the funding announcement, “a leading security company” and “a top navigation services provider”) have also approached his team about selling their data.

As for privacy, Zeotap says it does not include any personally identifiable information. Banerjea also said that one of the key elements of the company’s strategy is the fact that it prevents advertisers from storing data with persistent identifiers.

The Series B comes from New Science Ventures and location services provider HERE, as well as previous investors Capnamic Ventures and Iris Capital. Zeotap has now raised more than $20 million.

One of Zeotap’s strategic investors, Xaxis co-founder Mark Grether, said via email that one of the core principles in advertising is to “never share data directly.”

“The moment it is out in the market, it is uncontrollable and it loses its value,” Grether said. “When I got to know zeotap I re-discovered exactly this principle and realized the company was in a great position to gather the highest-quality data sources and monetize them across the ecosystem. Not only have they figured out smartly the data security and privacy parts of the equation, they also have a neutral position in the market and can offer the data securely to anyone who wants to leverage it.”