Digital fingerprinting startup will use cash to invest in products and expand sales and marketing.
BlueCava, a provider of digital fingerprinting technology, has closed a $9.5 million round of new funding led by S3 Ventures. The company closed a $5 million round last October.
David Norris, BlueCava CEO, said the cash infusion will be used to expand the business across sales, new products, marketing and engineering, as well as for domestic and international growth.
BlueCava provides a hosted service that is able to associate multiple devices with an individual while creating an anonymous interest profile. It can track a user's behavior on mobile phones, PCs, tablets and game consoles.
"Once you can identify a device, you can use the device ID we give back to keep track of your customers. Any time that users comes back, you can identify them whether or not they log in," Norris says.
The company says its technology can be used to increase online advertising effectiveness, reduce fraud risk and improve customer satisfaction.
Norris said the company is on track to identify 1 billion devices by the end of the year. The only customer he would mention is IMVU, an avatar chat community platform, but he said hundreds of companies are using it, including advertisers, publishers, ad agencies and ad networks.
The technique, known as device fingerprinting, could build a more complete user interest profile while also allowing marketers to profit from the data they collect via BlueCava's Reputation Exchange.
Members of the exchange can contribute or request data via APIs to BlueCava's platform. They can provide selected bits of data about the user and device; the data is then sold to another marketer, with a royalty paid by BlueCava to the contributor of the data.
For example, an hotelier may deduce that a particular digital fingerprint belongs to an affluent, frequent traveler. While keeping the user's actual identity secure within the hotel's own CRM system, it could add this deduction to the device profile hosted by BlueCava. An airline could request device fingerprints of affluent, frequent travelers for a promotion, paying by CPM. The hotelier would get a cut of the CPM.
While digital fingerprinting is sometimes touted as a cookie killer, Norris said that for the next few years, at least, it's more likely to be an incremental improvement on top of the tracking pixel.
"About half the time, cookies are not available. If marketers can solve that, it gives them a significant advantage. Then, to be able to associate other devices with the same user provides a huge benefit for retargeting," he said. "In the long term, we will definitely replace cookies, but that would take a while because of the level of cookie usage today."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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