Near to go far with funding boost

Near to go far with funding boost

Telstra Ventures backed business raises $143M in Series D funding round

A Telstra backed platform which claims to hold “the largest data-set of people’s behaviour in the real-world” has raised $143M in a Series D funding round.

The Telstra Ventures and Sequoia Capital backed data company Near, secured its latest funding boost from private equity firm, Greater Pacific Capital.

"We are humbled that we were able to close one of the largest rounds in our industry. It is a testament to our offering backed by unique data-sets and powerful science,” said Anil Mathews, Near’s founder and CEO.

The platform processes data from more than 1.6 billion people across 44 countries, it says, allowing its customers to leverage audience, spatial, retail and other data.

Most of the five billion ‘events’ Near processes is received from mobile app makers and ad exchanges “who have obtained appropriate consumer consent to collect and share such information”, the company says.

That data includes precise location data, device type, mobile browser type, operating system, log information, and IP address. This data is appended to publicly available third party data sources and advertising identifiers.

“However, none of this information allows Near to identify you personally,” the company states.

Customers locally include News Corp Australia, MCN and Telstra.

“We are the only company aggregating this quality and scale of data at a global level, and are the number one source of intelligence on human mobility in Asia-Pacific. No other player has invested as much into the Australian market as we have over the past five years, so we have a lot of legacy data here, making our data science models work more effectively. Australia is one of our core markets and we’ll be investing heavily in expanding our partnerships here,” said Mathews. 

The money raised in the funding round will be used to “open up key strategic markets” and engineering efforts towards the launch of new products. Rapid growth is unlikely in Europe – which implemented its General Data Protection Regulation last year – where the company concedes that “some of this pseudonymous data is considered personal data”.

Early this year, Near launched CARBON to allow publishers and enterprises to provide personalised consumer experiences and select real-world attributes such as brand affinity, home location, dwell time, distance travelled to enrich their first party data.

News Corp Australia has been working with the company to enhance the capabilities of its audience activation platform News Connect.

“Our strategic partnership with Near has helped us take News Connect to new levels. We’ve been able to unlock greater potential in our data by enriching it with the real-world data from the Near platform, helping us uncover new audience characteristics. This has helped us enhance our capability to deliver 1,900 customer segments to our clients. It is a true game-changer for Australian marketers,” said News Corp Australia’s general manager of data commercialisation, Suzie Cardwell.

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