AI data start-up Near raises US$100M

By Jonathan Jackson. Published at Jul 19, 2019, in Start Your Engines

AI data platform Near has closed one of the largest industry rounds to date, having raised US$100M (AU$143M) in a Series D funding round.

It was a good week for start-ups with German SaaS startup Signavio securing $US177 million ($254 million), in a round led by APAX Digital as it looks to expand its APAC presence.

The Near platform, which was founded in Singapore in 2012, uses AI to make real-world data actionable.

The Telstra Ventures and Sequoia Capital backed data start-up secured capital from London-based private equity firm, Greater Pacific Capital(GPC). Funds raised will be used to bolster its Australian presence and launch new products.

"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, Founder & CEO, Near.

“With the new funds, we will be investing heavily in data and engineering to launch a suite of new products, that’ll help strengthen our position in existing markets such as Australia and the US, and open up key strategic markets,” Mathews said.

Near's Australian clients include News Corp Australia, MCN and Telstra as key customers and the company holds the largest data-set of people’s behaviour in the real-world, with over 1.6 billion users. Its technology allows brands, enterprises and publishers to use unique real-world signals such as location and transaction for data enrichment and marketing, in a privacy-led environment. It allows users to run campaigns targeted to their specific audience.

News Corp Australia works with Near to enhance the capabilities of News Connect, its audience activation platform.

“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 Suzie Cardwell, General Manager of Data Commercialisation, News Corp Australia.

Since the launch of its flagship SaaS product, Allspark. which enables end-to-end marketing automation for clients and partners across more than 20 countries, Near has enjoyed unprecedented growth.

“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,” continued Mr Mathews.

Near CEO Anil Matthews

Telstra Ventures, one of Near’s early investors believe that starting early in the Australian market has given Near a competitive edge.

“We first invested in Near in 2014 when the use of real-world data, especially location data, in marketing and decision-making was still nascent. Near is one of the market leaders in the Australian market when it comes to understanding real-world consumer behaviours in real-time. Global customers including some of Telstra clients have been able to drive business value from the actionable, and easy to access intelligence provided by the Near Platform,” said Gurpreet Ghuliani, Head of Strategic Synergy, Telstra Ventures.

Early this year, Near launched its enrichment offering CARBONto help publishers and enterprises provide personalised consumer experiences and make smarter business decisions. Customers can select real-world attributes such as brand affinity, home location, dwell time, distance travelled etc., and enrich their first party data.

Ketan Patel, CEO, Greater Pacific Capital, commented, "Near provides insights into human behaviour by analysing where people are, and combining that with a multitude of data points to predict and influence behaviour. Given it does this across the globe in a privacy protected manner, it is well-positioned to create an exciting new space that delivers value to both people, and those that wish to build relationships with them.”

Near has a global presence across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

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