Twitter Venture has made an investment in micro-location marketing start-up Swirl Networks. It is believed that the micro-blogging firm planned the investment to enhance its mobile advertising tool going ahead, says a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Could help Twitter with advertising
It seems that the investment by Twitter is meant to address two purposes. One is to support the company’s growing advertising business, and the other is to expand the operations of its venture arm, for which Swirl is its second investment.
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Similar to Footmarks Inc., BlueVision and other competitors, Swirl deploys in-store beacons to deliver information about shoppers to marketers, who then prompt the former with offers and other messages.
Swirl codes can be used by retailers and brands in their own apps and a third party app like Twitter. Marketers can send notifications and offers depending on the location of a shopper in the store, how frequently they visited a certain display and how long they stayed there. Within the platform, there is an option for marketers to automate such offers and create programs meeting certain criteria.
Ozguc noted that as of now, there has been no formal deal with Twitter to use the technology to help advertisers target users, but it could happen in future. “It would be a logical outcome of the investment,” he said.
Swirl to utilize cash to fund growth
In addition to Twitter Ventures, two other firms also participated as new strategic investors in Swirl’s $18 million growth round, according to Venture Capital Dispatch, which estimates the value to be around $150 million. The other two investors belong to the retail and technology sectors.
Through the Series C round, Swirl will be able to increase the number of its employees to 90 by the end of the year and protect better against newer competition making inroads in the micro-location marketing sector in recent years. Swirl founder and chief executive Hilmi Ozguc noted that the investment was less concerned with the amount “we wanted to raise and more about bringing in the right group of strategics.” Ozguc said the company will invest primarily in expanding sales and for business development.
After founding Swirl in 2011, the team enhanced the product until it was ready for pilot customer tests in 2014. Now these testers are ready to pay off for customers in the form of a monthly platform service.