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Permutive raises USD18.5m in Series B funding led by Octopus Ventures

Permutive – a publisher-focussed data management platform – has raised USD18.5 million in Series B funding, led by Octopus Ventures with participation from EQT Ventures and earlier investors. The company, which works with global publishers, tripled revenue growth last year. The funding announcement comes at an unprecedented time for publishers, as web traffic continues to spike due to coronavirus yet struggles to monetise this readership persist.

The new capital will be used for international expansion, as the company continues to grow market share in North America. Permutive is also making significant hires to further enhance the experience and expertise in its senior team, including the appointments of Aly Nurmohamed to General Manager Publishing (formerly Global MD, Publisher Partnerships at Criteo); and Steve Francolla as Head of Partnerships (formerly Head of Global Publisher Strategy at LiveRamp). The company also continues to invest in research and development to help publishers monetise their data more successfully. 

Founded in the UK by Joe Root (CEO) and Tim Spratt (CTO), both Entrepreneur First and Y-Combinator alumni, Permutive is rebuilding data on the edge to protect user privacy. Its first product is a SaaS data management platform that allows publishers to increase their targetable advertising and deliver significant ROI (up to 291%*). With impending US regulations and browser changes, privacy is reshaping the ad industry at the expense of the third-party cookie. Existing data cloud solutions cannot function in this world. Unlike cloud-focused data providers, by using edge computing and processing user data on device, Permutive’s technology is built for privacy, protecting publishers from any browser changes by not relying on the third-party cookie. Its SDK is now running on 350 million devices and the platform sees 15 billion ad impressions globally, which has seen a 5.5x annual increase. 

Customers include BuzzFeed, Penske, The Financial Times, The Guardian, Business Insider, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Bell Media, News UK, and MailOnline. By harnessing edge computing, Permutive has enabled these publishers to maximise their targeted users, increase advertising yield, and grow rebooking values. 

Joe Root, CEO at Permutive, says: “We’re really excited to announce this new milestone, which will help us to continue the momentum of helping publishers to understand and monetise their audiences. It’s our mission to reset advertising and to protect privacy while making data useful, and this funding will help us towards working for this goal. 

“Too many organisations are blind to the huge change the advertising industry is undergoing. Yet, in just the last few years legislators have introduced privacy measures such as GDPR and CCPA, which has changed the way businesses can sort, use and store data. Coupled with this, platforms such as Firefox and Safari have excluded third-party cookies, while Google has announced Chrome will go the same way in less than two years time. However, with the right combination of privacy, trust, and scale, publishers have the opportunity to capitalise on their direct relationship with their customers and use their first-party data to help rebuild a new advertising ecosystem from the ground up.”

Will Gibbs of Octopus Ventures, says: “Octopus Ventures is thrilled to step forward and invest further into what we see as a very special business with immense potential. When we first invested, board meetings were held in kitchens and the strategy had to be agile in order to refine the product and vision. Today, Permutive is the UK category leader in its field and is beating billion-dollar global businesses on a consistent basis in trial processes. The team has hired many incredible people and is now ready to replicate the success seen in the UK in the US. Given the evolving regulatory and customer priorities, Permutive’s technology could be genuinely pioneering in its field.”

“Data has become the bedrock of the publishing and advertising industries, as the infrastructure of both has changed dramatically over the past year. Uniquely, Permutive allows organisations to build a ‘first-party’ data business. This is the new currency for online media and therefore vital for advertisers, who require trust, insights, and transparency over what they are buying. At EQT Ventures, we were seriously impressed at the value offered to some of the world’s largest media organisations by processing data on the edge instead of the cloud – a no-brainer when comparing the cost of both. It’s a pleasure to continue working with the Permutive team on their brilliant journey,” says Ali Mitchell, Partner and investment advisor at EQT Ventures.

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