4INFO Closes $14 Million Funding

Yankee-phone-BMobile advertising company 4INFO, best known for its SMS text messaging service, has secured an additional $14 million in venture funding from investors led by Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Mitsui Global Investment and including prior investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Gannett, Mezzanine Capital and U.S. Venture Partners. That brings 4INFO’s total raised to date to $52 million.

The company said it plans to use the new capital to expand its AdHaven mobile audience platform and audience network serving ads across all types of mobile media.

In connection with the funding, 4INFO is also spinning out AdHaven as a separate division focused on mobile ad technology and sales. The move is aimed at helping 4INFO shift away from its identity as an SMS provider to a broader mobile ad technology business.

Besides hiring more software engineers, 4INFO CEO Zaw Thet said the financing would help the company continue to make further strategic acquisitions, like last year’s purchase of mobile ad start-up Butter, which builds customized branded apps for the iPhone and Android devices.

In addition to SMS messages, AdHaven allows marketers to run targeted ad campaigns across the mobile Web, mobile rich media and video, applications and tablets, as well as handsets. Advertisers adopting the platform include Ford, Universal Pictures, KFC and Procter & Gamble. On the publishing side, Gannett, CBS, Discovery Channel and Yahoo are part of the AdHaven network that the company says reaches and audience of 90 million mobile users. 

“With AdHaven, we bring the first real audience targeting to the mobile ecosystem through proprietary partnerships with leading publishers, ad-sources, inventory providers, and online and offline data providers,” said Thet, in announcing 4INFO’s latest funding round.

The idea is to put targeting and analytics on par with the traditional Internet. But achieving this goal has long been hampered by issues like the lack of a mobile equivalent to online cookies, and heightened scrutiny around privacy issues in mobile.

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