Thursday, September 30, 2010

Verve Wireless Closes $7 M Funding Round

Verve Wireless Inc. closed a $7 million round of financing that it will use to accelerate the growth of its mobile advertising platform for local media because of an evident shift of ad dollars in the space.
Verve offers local publishers technology to distribute and manage news and targeted advertising across all mobile platforms.
Here is the Interview ...
What is Verve Wireless going to use this funding for?
Continued enhancements to our mobile distribution platform – Verve Gateway, as well as accelerating our partner's local and nation advertising growth via Verve Connect, our network of premium local media brands that provides reach and scale to advertisers of all sizes, from large national brands to the corner health food store. 
What is the current state of local mobile advertising?
It is still early in the growth curve, but the shift in local ad dollars is evident. 
We are seeing double digit growth in all of our key performance indicators, from number of local campaigns running per month, renewal rates, dollars per campaign and number of advertisers per partner.
The local ad dollars are following the consumer into mobile with the same level of expectations as the national agencies and brands with respect to level of engagement, rich media and performance. 
Where do you see it going in the next year or so?
The reallocation of local ad dollars, estimated to be around $29 billion, will continue and mobile will continue to garner a larger share of those dollars at the expense of some other elements of the media mix. 
The audience is now just too large in mobile to ignore and local brands are already tying other elements of their media spend (e.g. print, broadcast, out-of-home) together via mobile with time-based offers and specific calls to action. 
There is nothing ground breaking about that statement.
National brands have been doing this for several years now.
But the sophistication and drive for hard dollar ROI is just as prevalent among small- to medium-sized businesses, as it is among national brands, particularly in this economy, and mobile is recognized among these in-market brands as a very effective advertising and promotion tool for their businesses.
Why does local and mobile go hand in hand?
One of the founding principles of the company when we started over five years ago was the belief that mobile is an inherently local medium. 
People are out and about in their community, or visiting a new community, and are looking to either stay connected or get connected to the information that is part of our daily construct. 
Increasingly, that information is becoming actionable, or stated differently, transaction-able. 
The ability to curate news and information content and wrap that content in a local brand leading towards a specific transaction continues to make mobile the most promising local advertising medium on the planet. 
Coupons are the most often cited, but we are working on several other transaction oriented programs that will help leverage the value of mobile being inherently mobile.
Can you talk about some of your advertisers and the type of results they achieve by targeting via location?
It is still early in the geotargeting game. We think it is the second inning of the ninth. Verve’s customers are seeing more success by being able to target to a region or a DMA. In order for geotargeting to be successful, you need a lot of reach and users.
Today, Verve is about building significant reach, meaning our publishers have enough users and inventory to be interesting to local advertisers from a geotargeting perspective.
Our goal is to deliver great products that grow user base so that ultimately they will be able to serve up interesting ads.
We do not see geotargeting really catching on for at least another 12 months.