Media6Degrees, an ad targeting firm that mines big data to find prospects for marketers, is acquiring mobile data startup EveryScreen Media for an undisclosed sum.
The deal will allow Media6Degrees to connect mobile devices, including their location, to web browsers, a difficult technical leap that will give marketers a bigger picture of what their customers are doing as they move between the web, smartphones and tablets.
"All the data we get from web browsers is about to be doubled or tripled," said CEO Tom Phillips.
Founded two years ago, New York City-based EveryScreen Media is a mobile data provider that allows marketers to target mobile audiences without using their unique device IDs, the kind of personally-identifiable information that is troubling to privacy advocates and regulators.
The company, backed by Progress Ventures, has 12 employees, all of whom will join Media6Degrees, which currently has 100 employees. Moorehead Partners advised EveryScreen Media on the deal.
Media6Degrees helps marketers find potential customers by matching characteristics of their current customers to those with similar behaviors on the web. The company takes data from clients like Hertz and Marriott Hotels to find others people likely to rent cars or book hotel rooms. Media6Degrees then ranks those prospects so advertisers can bid on them in ad exchanges like Google's AdX, OpenX, Appnexus or Pubmatic.
Until now that was mostly data collected from web browsers.
"We know how to do predictive modeling connected to display," said Media6Degrees president Penry Price, who joined the startup from Google in 2011. When you start to add location, check-out and in-store data, we can provide a broader opportunity for marketers that is much more than advertising."
Media6Degrees is also looking to add data scientists to position it for a day when cookie targeting becomes either less reliable (due to wide-spread opting-out of targeting) or subject to new privacy laws. The company's position has always been that they can learn more from anonymous data about what a person is likely to do than from demographic or psychographic targeting based on age, gender or stated preferences.
"We don't care what they look like," Mr. Phillips said. "We care what they act like."
Founded in 2008, Media6Degrees has raised a total of $25 million from Menlo Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners and Venrock; its last raise was in late 2010. The company is profitable, but Mr. Phillips wouldn't rule out raising additional funds to fuel growth.
Mr. Price expects to see more consolidation in advertising technology this year as funding dries up, investors look for exits and startups with narrow offerings are rolled up by bigger players.
"I think consolidation is bound to happen but I have not seen a lot of standalone mobile businesses come running out of the gate," he said. "It is still about downloading apps and that is not going to transform marketing."