It’s a good time to be in the first-party data biz.
Jebbit, a Boston-based startup that helps marketers collect data directly from consumers, announced its $12 million Series B on Monday led by K1 Investment Management.
This round brings Jebbit’s total funding to just over $22 million, the bulk of which will go toward product engineering, building partnerships with tech platforms and marketing clouds and hiring sales and marketing folks. The plan is to increase headcount from 55 to around 120 over the next two years.
Fundraising in today’s environment isn’t easy. There’s the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, the California Consumer Protection Act set to take effect in less than nine months and tech platforms regularly getting raked over the coals in DC.
Any mention of marketing tech or ad tech and VCs get very skittish, said Jonathan Lacoste, Jebbit’s CEO and co-founder, who noted a marked difference between now and what it felt like to raise the company’s Series A in 2017 or its seed round two years before that.
But there’s an appetite for technology that helps marketers get closer to their customers, he said, which is what Jebbit aims to do by providing opportunities for one-on-one engagements.
In other words, if you want to know something about your customers, there are lots of opportunities to do so in contexts that make sense.
When someone’s clicking around on an ecommerce site unsure of which pair of running shoes to buy, for example, that could be a contextual moment to find out about that person’s style preferences or fitness goals for the year. The very first time a prospect visits a website is a chance to ask about their interests.
“That’s what declared data is, when people share explicitly consented information about themselves by answering questions,” Lacoste said. “But it’s also the kind of information that’s hard to glean by just looking at what someone’s clicking on a website.”
Jebbit usually integrates with a brand’s CRM or customer data platform through an API so that brands can tie the data they’re collecting to an email address or proprietary customer ID.
A client like Express uses Jebbit to introduce social and quiz-like experiences on its site and enable more personalized recommendations. Job site Monster.com programmatically serves up potential jobs based on questions that visitors answer throughout their experience on the site.
When data is collected willingly and for a purpose, the regulatory risk and the creepiness factor diminish exponentially, Lacoste said.
Properly sourced third-party data can be useful for training models or validating first-party data, he said, “but if you want to build a relationship with consumers, you can’t message them in a one-size fits all way – and that’s where we think declared data is the cream of the crop.”
Jebbit has offices in Boston, Chicago, New York and Austin.