Pursway, a company whose big data marketing analytics service has its origins in Israeli counter-terrorism, announced a $7.2 million Series B round of funding from Battery Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners.
The company raised $6M from Battery in a Series A in 2010, so, in addition to some other various funding, the current round brings Pursway's total funding to $17.2M.
Pursway's founding story is definitely one of the more interesting startup tales out there.
The company, originally know as Datanetis, was founded in Israel by Guy Gildor and Ran Shaul. It was borne out of a counter-terrorism technology that the founders had helped develop as members of of an elite IDF intelligence unit. Basically, Gildor and Shaul took a tool that allowed the Israeli army to analyze the connections and relationships of terrorists and repurposed it as a marketing data analytics product. They then applied the techniques used in intelligence to public information allowing Pursway to be able to figure out how deeply people are connected online and how influence works on the internet.
As Pursway CEO Dave Ellenberger explained, "We are helping marketing organizations based on the concept that friends buy what their friends buy, which may be the most powerful marketing tool there is."
"And yet," he added, "most companies are not taking advantage of that. They aren't taking advantage of which people know each other and which people influence each other."
Pursway "socializes consumers data," and figures out whose people true friends are and the close net of friends and family that have the potential to influence a purchase. Pursway then knows which people they should be marketing to, and, as Ellenberger said, companies can "reach a much higher ROI."
“Our customers are achieving significant increases in customer acquisition and retention by better targeting customers and prospects that tend to buy what their friends buy,” Ellenberger said in the press release announcing the deal.
“This new round of funding reflects our investors’ confidence in our ability to transform the way marketing is being done. It gives us the capital to reach more organizations that are realizing the power big data has in converting prospects and retaining customers.”
One of those investors, Scott Tobin of Battery Ventures, explained the the attraction to Pursway. “There’s no question that big data and social influence have given marketers valuable insight into their target buyers, but translating that data into sales continues to be the Achilles heel. Pursway takes a completely different approach, relying on transaction and interaction data, revealing previously invisible social connections that drive actual and measurable consumer behavior."
"As a result," Tobin added, "the demand from major retailers, financial institutions and telecom providers has been significant. We’re confident that Pursway will continue to disrupt the way marketers use data to generate sales.”
Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.