Wunderkind -- a performance marketing engine and behavioral marketing firm that helps brands including Fender, Rag & Bone, Refinery29 and Sonos target website visitors with emails and texts -- has raised $76 million in a Series C round led by financial services company Neuberger Berman, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding targeted ads.
The company plans to use its newly raised funds to expand and further develop its products, as well as hire new talent. CEO Bill Ingram says Wunderkind is making heavy investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Wunderkind says it helps brands create relationships with customers only after determining the makeup of individual visitors simply based on which web page they arrived from and what content on a brand’s website they seem most interested in.
“We help drive better outcomes using a company's existing technology investments and expertise,” Ingram told TechCrunch. “The technical decision maker is worried about not having their own customer relationship and data, not reaching their customers where they are, and being able to execute on smart digital marketing initiatives that their consumers expect. We help across all those fronts by providing access to data, user profiles and one-to-one marketing strategies that manufacture outcomes and truly deliver performance.”
Wunderkind has been successful since its founding in 2010. The company now has a workforce of 700 and a customer base of over 1,000 brands and publishers in the luxury, direct-to-consumer (D2C) and technology spaces. Even after reporting $100 million in annual recurring revenue in 2020, Ingram told TechCrunch that the company's revenue grew 35% year-over-year in 2022.
Ingram adds that "Wunderkind takes consumer privacy very seriously and follows the most rigorous industry standards to ensure the highest data privacy and security. We are committed to meeting and maintaining campaign compliance with local legislation, such as GDPR, CCPA, CAN-SPAM, CASL, and TCPA & CTIA."
Many people believe behavioral marketing and targeted ads infringe on people’s basic privacy. In President Joe Biden's most recent State of the Union Address, he called for “enacting nationwide legislation that limits the personal information companies collect, use, and share and protest kids and teens from behavioral advertising,” adding: “It's long overdue.”
Biden's call to action followed an American Data and Privacy Protection Act proposed by a group of partisan Senators in December who urged lawmakers to move forward with proposals to restrict companies' ability to harness data for advertising, with broad parameters including children and adults.
And just last week, industry group Privacy for America called for Congress -- not the FTC -- to set a national privacy standard.
The group’s letter stated: “No company, just because of its position in the marketplace as the intermediary between consumers and publishers, should be able to interfere in the legitimate, responsible, data practice of others…a federal law should prohibit such meddling.”