Factual CEO Elbaz Plots European Expansion As Location Market ‘Booms’

Geo-data provider Factual has hired Mandeep Mason as managing director, Europe, as the California company seeks to expand its presence on the continent.

Citing figures from eMarketer, the European mobile advertising market is expected to reach to $40 billion by 2018. At the same time, the broader location intelligence category that Factual serves is expected to grow from $12.4 billion in 2016 to $32.4 billion in 2021, as per BIA Kelsey. Media targeting using Factual’s data in Europe has more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.

In Europe, Factual’s Places data includes 22 countries and covers over 45 million places. Globally, Places comprises over 100 million local business listings and points of interests in 50 countries.

As Managing Director, Europe, Mason is charged with building the expansion of Factual’s European presence that was begun last year with the hiring of Rob Jonas as CRO. (Mason will report to Jonas.) He was previously general manager of PlaceIQ’s European business. Prior to that post, Mason was International Director for Mobile Advertising Sales & Strategy at Microsoft

Mason’s priorities include supporting existing global partners in Europe, extending local relationships developed over the last twelve months, and developing new partnerships with both marketers and enterprises. He will also be responsible for expanding Factual’s footprint in London, where they opened an office in early 2016.

We spoke with Factual CEO Gil Elbaz about how the renewed focus on Europe reflects the company’s wider evolution.

GeoMarketing: What will be the primary focus as you build out the European expansion?

Gil Elbaz: We’ve already invested heavily on the data side. Many of our partners are international partners that have operations in Europe, and then one missing piece was leadership to be on the ground. They’ll have a team in London, and so this week is the start of that.

I’m very excited that we have been able to bring on Mandeep as managing director of Europe to focus on this expansion into Europe. He’ll be reporting into Rob Jonas.

He brings a tremendous amount of experience in location data, in enterprise software, in ad tech, which is an important aspect of our business, an important vertical. It’s going to be a great relationship and we have a tremendous amount of faith that he’s the right person to grow this business there.

Over the past year-plus, Factual has been looking beyond strict geo-data centered advertising to powering the location intelligence behind on-demand services like Uber or enhancing the capabilities of Apple Maps and Facebook from an enterprise standpoint. Do you expect those kind of partnerships to follow in Europe, or is the concentration primarily on ad tech platforms?

We’re modeling Europe very much after how we run things in the U.S. In general, Factual is a data company, and we see ad tech as one important vertical. Location-based apps have always been another very important use case.

So you know some of the big names that in the U.S., that are our customers for our location data, such as Uber and Apple, Facebook, and others. Similarly, we very much are looking to Mandeep to grow similar types of business relationships with technology companies, whether they’re building apps or building other enterprise capabilities.

Factual has also racked up numerous partnerships with most major ad exchange players. Do those agreements already apply to work in Europe, or are you looking for expanded formal alliances there in addition?

I can’t offer any new details on that front, but as you mentioned, the international larger demand-side platforms, ad tech platforms, are very relevant within Europe, because many of them have significant operations there.

There are some regional players who are very relevant from country to country, and as we go deeper country by country, we certainly want to make sure that factual data is enabling marketing within all of the important platforms. There will certainly be some additional ones that are on our hit list of companies that we would love to partnership. We will start working on that in a more focused way, now.