Signal Scores $30 Million To Focus On Cracking International Markets

SignalfundingCross-channel marketing company Signal announced $30 million in fresh funding on Tuesday – seeming evidence that ad tech funding isn’t drying up for everyone.

That brings Signal’s total funding to around $70 million since it was founded in 2009, including a $13.3 million round of venture capital in March.

Raising funds hasn’t been a problem, said Signal CEO Mike Sands.

“I acknowledge that some of the legacy solutions are struggling right now,” he said. “But there are what you could call hot or innovative areas that are still getting a lot of interest.”

Addressable marketing is one such space, Sands said.

“The first wave of programmatic was about moving toward greater and greater efficiency in buying impressions,” he said. “The next five years will be about complementing impressions with people and identifying known users at scale.”

Signal’s offering is a self-serve platform that collects data from online and offline sources to create persistent consumer profiles. Client put their first-party data in and Signal creates what it calls a cross-channel identity graph that connects app downloads, in-store purchases or other user actions to a particular device and, therefore, a particular person. From there, clients can create segments and activate against the data.

The company has its sights set on international expansion. Most of the new funding will go toward bolstering its presence in Australia, APAC and Europe.

The opportunity is there, but identity solutions are a bit thin on the ground in global markets, Sands said. That’s the gap Signal is looking to fill.

Signal isn’t the only cross-device company hoping to break down borders. Drawbridge raised $25 million in May, a portion of which is earmarked for broadening its reach in Asian markets.

Asia is a particularly attractive playing field, Sands said, noting that “the urgency is there and the regulatory atmosphere is also more favorable.”

Signal already has a few fairly robust relationships in the region, including with Flybuys, Australia’s countrywide loyalty program (basically, a bigger and more entrenched version of Plenti in the US), and with Yahoo Japan.

Yahoo Japan and Signal have worked together since 2013. Signal developed a tag manager product for Yahoo Japan and, a year later, helped Yahoo Japan build out its own data management platform.

Signal, which has its HQ in Chicago, plans to use its Tokyo and Sydney offices and Singapore outpost as jumping-off points for greater expansion in the region. Signal’s London office will be its springboard into Europe. (The company also has offices in New York and Sao Paulo.)

Roughly 75% of Signal’s 150 employees are based in the US, with the remaining 25% in global markets. A portion of the $30 million will go toward upping the headcount to around 200 by the end of the year.

Sands said the company plans to add “as many technologists as we can find as quickly as possible” to beef up its tech centers in Chicago and New York, although most of the new hires will be sales and account managers to staff international outposts, where the opportunity is ripe.

“Addressability isn’t a US trend, it’s a global trend, especially in Asia where many consumers skipped the desktop digital age and went right to mobile devices,” Sands said. “Householding has been around for the decades – now it’s about reaching individuals.”

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