Admobius, a startup that aims to improve mobile ad targeting, on Tuesday announced closing $5 million in a first-round funding led by Opus Capital and Storm Ventures.
Launched by a trio of Apple executives who worked in its iAd unit, the company has operated in stealth mode for the last year. It has built out its platform for delivering more precise targeting for mobile brand campaigns at scale.
Admobius bills itself as the first independent audience management platform for mobile, promising to help publishers, ad networks and brands boost their ad results and revenue with better targeting.
To that end, it has partnered with several companies in the mobile ecosystem including mobile ad exchange StrikeAd to aggregate anonymous user data for targeting ads across smartphones and tablets.
Admobius currently processes data from 67% of iPhone users, 91% of iPad users and 20% of Android owners globally.
“We are gathering data from multiple partners -- they could be premium publishers or any sort of aggregator, such as ad networks -- and standardize it in a single profile data base, then package audience demographics and behavioral segments that can be used for targeting,” said CEO Dan Grigorovici, who co-founded Admobius with fellow iAd and Quattro Wireless veterans Ray Duong and Omar Abdala.
The bulk of that data so far -- 60% to 70% -- comes from mobile apps rather than the mobile Web. The company’s focus for now is on targeting ads within apps. The key difference that Admobius offers, according to Grigorovici, is in the depth of its mobile data, compared to that from a single publisher or ad network.
The demand for niche targeting in mobile is a particular challenge because of the inherently fragmented nature of the medium, as well as the lack of cookies used for traditional Web tracking.
To highlight the limitations of mobile targeting, Grigorovici cites the example of a luxury brand like Burberry trying to reach an affluent demographic playing “Angry Birds.” One might assume the app isn’t a natural fit for Burberry’s upscale products because it’s only the province of avid gamers.
“But the reality is, ‘Angry Birds’ is a large scale publisher, everyone is using games, but there’s no one in the marketplace that tells publishers which of their audience members are interested in X or Y,” he said. That’s where Admobius comes in, allowing publishers and developers to match users with its audience data without using personally identifiable information.
Grigorovici also said the company doesn’t resell raw data from its partners to third parties. To further protect user privacy, the company is working with privacy management provider TRUSTe to allow people to opt out of receiving targeted ads.
Admobius makes money from sharing revenue with partners when its targeting data is used in campaigns. Depending on the device and targeting level, Grigorovici said CPMs for advertising using its technology have been in the $1 to $2 range.
In-app ad spending is on pace to reach $7.1 billion by 2015 -- up from $2.4 billion this year, according to a Juniper Research forecast released in July. Bob Borchers, a general partner at Opus Capital, will join Admobius’ board, along with Sanjay Subhedar of Storm Ventures.