Citing A 50 Percent Revenue Gain, Factual Raises $42 Million Funding And Sets Its Sights On Asia
"Every company, in every industry, is becoming a data company, because data is the most critical component of future innovation," Factual CEO Gil Elbaz says.
Geo-data specialist Factual’s third round $42 million funding comes as the 10-year-old company looks to the next wave of use cases for location analytics and the continuing rise of the Asia-Pacific region amid the west’s increasing push to regulate tech companies.
The funding also comes nearly three years after its second round $35 million investment, which sparked Factual’s initial global expansion.
In those past three years, Factual has sought to expand from programmatic advertising services a bit, by stressing the broader uses of location data. For example, Factual has helped WeWork choose where to open new communal office spaces.
But for the most part, the company has remained focused continuing to refine its ad targeting tools that reflect brands’ demand for personalization based on what consumers’ location patterns say about their product interests. The recent release of Factual’s Geopulse Audience Designer to advertisers promises greater ability to accurately target based on precise real world behaviors –– “so they can reach the right consumers with the right message, every time,” Factual CMO Brian Czarny told GeoMarketing at the time.
One of the features of the Geopulse Audience Designer is “Smart Search,” which is “integrated directly into the Audience Designer for seamless targeting of over 130 million places, chains and points of interest across 475 categories.”
As for the funding, Factual will use the proceeds to fuel further international expansion, particularly in the APAC region. The region is its fastest-growing market, as revenues have tripled there even without an official presence (Factual says revenues overall have more than doubled in the past year, but did not reveal specific numbers).
Factual will establish its APAC headquarters in Singapore, and has hired former Grapeshot (Oracle) executive Chris Pattinson to run it. Factual also plans use the funds to grow existing markets, deepen partnerships with brands, publishers and business analysts, and extend its data products into new channels, through connected TV and out-of-home partnerships. The raise brings Factual’s total funding to $104 million.
The role of location signals to power real-time ad targeting, social media analytics, Connected Intelligence, and voice-activated assistants has become an integral part of all marketing, as digital mapping supports roughly $1 trillion in business around the world.
We checked in with Factual founder and CEO Gil Elbaz to get a better sense of how location data’s use is evolving and where his company’s place within that marketplace is going as well.
GeoMarketing: What does this funding say about the value of location data to marketers and other brands at this moment?
Gil Elbaz: Every company, in every industry, is becoming a data company, because data is the most critical component of future innovation. It is more important now than ever, in marketing and beyond. For most companies outside of Google and Facebook, high quality data is simply not accessible. That’s why Factual exists – to help democratize access to the data needed to make smarter decisions, build better customer experiences and create interesting new products power innovation.
For marketers specifically, location data is a key component to every step in the campaign lifecycle. From identifying, understanding and targeting audiences to measuring the success of their efforts, marketers are more than ever depending on data to help them make critical strategic decisions, as well as to deliver and to measure success.
Aside from growing the Asia-Pacific presence, does this funding have the potential to broaden Factual’s brand from what it is now?
These new funds allow us to deliver on our mission of providing access to the highest quality location data that powers innovation through real world understanding. We’ll continue to drive growth in existing markets throughout the US and Europe, and innovate on the products we currently offer, for both products and analytics and marketing use cases.
The funds will also give us the opportunity to further develop some of our newer products, like Geopulse Measurement and Geopulse Insights, broadening partnerships with Connected TV, OOH and other channels of delivery, and working more closely with brands and publishers to enrich their existing first-party data.
Our data is already the most distributed across the ad-tech ecosystem, and this enables us to broadly ensure it’s adopted even more widely.
Is there anything you can say about Factual’s revenue growth (I know, as a private company, can’t release numbers, but hoping you can give me a sense of where things are now, versus a year or two years ago?
Factual’s revenue has grown nearly 50 percent YoY, and we’re still growing. We’re now at 200 employees across six offices, including Singapore, and we’ve tripled our hiring rate year over year.
With our Geopulse products, we’ve helped power location data in campaigns for more than 6,000 brands around the world, including 48 of the top 50 national advertisers (per the June 2018 AdAge Top Advertisers List).
Further, 4 of the 5 top technology companies by market cap use Factual location data to power product features, and 9 of the top 10 Fortune 10 brands trust Factual data and products to support business objectives.