Companies spend an extraordinary amount on marketing to the right audience, but a significant issue that they face is figuring out who these consumers actually are and what they are engaged by, especially on mobile, which has been rather anonymous traditionally. That’s where Mobilewalla, the largest consumer intelligence mobile platform comes in. Using a blend of new data science techniques that the company has developed, the startup’s platform allows B2C marketers to better understand mobile consumers like never before. Companies can then effectively create tailored campaigns for segments and increase the yield of their marketing dollars by delivering the right message, at the right time using the data from the platform.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and Founder Anindya Datta about what about this company is attracting investors and its latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $20.9M over five rounds for the startup founded in 2010.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
This Series B round of fundraising was led by GCP Capital Partners, with additional investment from ATW Partners and Madrona Venture Group. The round totaled $12.5M
Mobilewalla is the only consumer intelligence platform able to analyze audiences persistently as they evolve on a global scale. Encompassing demographic, behavioral, and systems-usage information for more than 1.3 billion consumers across 31 different countries and is the leading provider of Nielsen-verified mobile audience insights.
What inspired you to start Mobilewalla?
My previous company had finally been acquired, and after 6 years of my family’s patience with the overextended schedule of a startup founder, I found myself with enough time to give uninterrupted attention and indulgence to my little girl. At 8 years old, she became one of the first owners of the iPod touch. The gaming app she had downloaded from the iTunes store, Doodle Jump, was played by her and her friends for hours on end, every day, for weeks at a time. I finally had to ask what the appeal was – and why they never seemed to play any other games. The answer was simple: out of 800 apps – how are we supposed to figure out what else we’d like?
At that time, app discovery in the iTunes and Google Play store was less sophisticated. There were the unreliable native app store rankings, based more around commercial considerations than on what people really wanted to know – popularity.
How is Mobilewalla different?
Mobilewalla is a next generation data company that employs big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and creativity to power the most granular consumer intelligence platform on the planet.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Mobilewalla’s platform is fast becoming an essential resource for major B2C enterprises, particularly those in the telecommunications, retail, consumer packaged goods, and financial services categories.
What’s your business model?
We license data.
How do you manage privacy concerns associated with your technology?
Mobilewalla has taken proactive steps to be in full compliance of GDPR. Additionally, we are always vigilant about not collecting Personally Identifiably Information. We saw Singapore’s passage of their 2012 Personal Data Protection Act as a harbinger of increased regulations and engaged a technology and life sciences law firm which specializes in data privacy and cybersecurity. Effective November 2017, we appointed Jay Clark our Data Protection Officer.
What was the funding process like?
The process was actually pretty wild. We put together a business plan and made a list of 15 funding entities that we wanted to pitch. We pitched to four, got term sheets from 3, and selected one, all within a 60-day turnaround.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge was the privacy scrutiny that the whole data industry came under while we were in the middle of our due diligence. Separating our business model from others in the industry, proving the security of our data, and making sure we were in complete compliance of the pressing regulations of GDPR were all issues we were tackling while under the watchful eye of our potential investors. We knew we had our privacy under control but showing that in a way that was buttoned-up was stressful.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
“GCP Capital Partners has invested in and evaluated numerous businesses in the consumer data industry. In an industry where many companies claim to possess differentiated data, we were excited by Mobilewalla’s truly unique product capabilities, especially around data cleansing, fraud mitigation, and storage,” says Boris Gutin, Managing Director of GCP Capital Partners. “We invest in people first, and Team Mobilewalla’s vision, innovation and ability to stay ahead of the curve, particularly at a time when consumer data companies are under careful scrutiny, has proven to be absolutely best-in-class.”
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Establish an enterprise revenue team in the United States, increase engineering headcount from 15 to 20, recruit 2 key members in our data science teams, and establish operations in Korea and Japan
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
If you need capital, go to the markets now, because the markets are in good shape – there’s money to be had. It’s always better to go now instead of waiting for conditions to change. You don’t know what will happen with global economies, and you can afford to wait for an organic change in your valuation.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
This fundraise comes at a critical time in Mobilewalla’s journey. We have been expanding our global footprint, and we can now put real resources behind geographies like Japan, Korea, and Australia, all of which have such incredible growth potential. Additionally, we’re now able to grow our data science team, enhancing our ability to take strategic data acquisitions from partners, and make them even better and more precise. Our ability to combat fraud, predict age and gender, and verify footfall traffic, will all take a leap forward this year
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
This is a hard one – we love so many. Because we are located close to Grand Central we often end up going to Peter Dillon’s.