Startups

Behavioral marketing platform Wunderkind nabs $76M

Comment

Illustration showing man tweaking funnel with lever to optimize for growth; growth marketing down funnel
Image Credits: erhui1979 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Wunderkind, a platform that enables brands to target web visitors through emails, texts and other digital advertising formats, today announced that it raised $76 million in a Series C round led by Neuberger Berman, the financial services company.

Wunderkind’s newly appointed CEO, Bill Ingram, says that the tranche — which brings Wunderkind’s total raised to over $150 million — will be put toward investing in product development, hiring and ongoing market expansion.

“We see this as a real opportunity to expand our products outside of acquisition and conversion, and continue to increase the revenue growth of our customers while continuing to grow Wunderkind,” Ingram told TechCrunch in an email interview. “To do this, we’re investing heavily in AI and machine learning.”

Founded in 2010, Wunderkind aims to scale brands’ abilities to foster customer relationships through digital channels. How? By analyzing smartphone and desktop web visitors’ real-time and historical behaviors to match value to intent, Ingram says.

Wunderkind claims it can determine who visitors are based on the web page that referred them and the content that they’re interacting with. For example, the platform can figure out who’s most likely to purchase a paid subscription and sign up for a newsletter — or so Ingram claims.

The company also offers tools to launch “triggered” ad campaigns and create audience segments for those campaigns. It predictively models, seeking to take the guesswork out of determining the highest-intent audiences or any at-risk cohorts.

“We help drive better outcomes using a company’s existing technology investments and expertise,” Ingram said. “The technical decision maker is worried about not having their own customer relationship and data, not reaching their customers where they are, and being able to execute on smart digital marketing initiatives that their consumers expect. We help across all those fronts by providing access to data, user profiles and one-to-one marketing strategies that manufacture outcomes and truly deliver performance.”

From a user perspective, Wunderkind’s product sounds a bit…creepy, frankly. Indeed, the case against behavioral marketing is stacking up. But for many companies, the results are well worth the potential controversy. According to a survey by the Network Advertising Initiative conducted with a dozen different ad networks, targeted advertisements based on user behavior converted 6.8% compared with non-targeted ads at 2.8%.

Wunderkind’s found success without a doubt, boasting a customer base of more than 1,000 brands and publishers in the luxury, direct-to-consumer and tech spaces — including Rag & Bone, HelloFresh, Uniqlo, Sonos and See’s Candy. (In 2020, Wunderkind — then known as BounceX — reported $100 million in annual recurring revenue.) Last year, Wunderkind’s revenue grew 35% year over year, Ingram says, and the company’s poised to grow the top line again this year.

“We see the headwinds here as a combination of larger market economic trends, changes that rightfully align with consumer privacy and audience shifts in behavior. We’re also aware of the challenges in scaling first-party data assets and leveraging them in a meaningful way,” Ingram said. “But, look, Wunderkind is well-positioned here to help our clients and the industry as a whole. We’re sitting on over ten years of meaningful consumer data and insights that we collected voluntarily.”

That being said, 700-employee Wunderkind — no doubt with an eye toward a more regulated, privacy-conscious ad future — plans to expand and launch a one-to-one messaging offering for ads to enable “cookieless” retargeting. Also in the works is an improved “discovery” feature for e-commerce businesses that’ll serve product recommendations based on customer behaviors and interests.

“We firmly believe we can help our clients increase their customers’ lifetime value and ultimately grow better as a business with Wunderkind,” Ingram said.

More TechCrunch

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

15 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

17 hours ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, launched an enterprise version of the prominent social network in 2015. It always seemed like a stretch for a company built on a consumer…

With the end of Workplace, it’s fair to wonder if Meta was ever serious about the enterprise

X, formerly Twitter, turned TweetDeck into X Pro and pushed it behind a paywall. But there is a new column-based social media tool in town, and it’s from Instagram Threads.…

Meta Threads is testing pinned columns on the web, similar to the old TweetDeck

As part of 2024’s Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is showing off some updates to Android that should be useful to folks with mobility or vision impairments. Project Gameface allows gamers…

Google expands hands-free and eyes-free interfaces on Android