Portnoy plans to use the seed money to go on an “aggressive” hiring spree and add engineers and product people to swell the ranks of Sense360, where headcount now stands at five.
In terms of product development, Portnoy is aware of the challenges that come with mobile sensor data. For one, there’s just so much of it. It’s a matter of creating technology that can identify the signals in the noise.
“Sensors are incredibly sensitive and they bring in tons of data, which tends to need a lot of cleanup to normalize it and make it usable,” he said. “That’s a big project we’re working on, but we need to build out a team first.”
There’s no word yet on an official launch date for the technology.
Portnoy is quick to note that Sense360 isn’t creating ad tech, but rather a tool to help app developers answer three questions. One, where is the user?; two, what is that user doing?; and three, what is happening around that person?
“If we can do that we can help developers build more engaging experience to retain more users,” he said.
But if a better app experience leads users to spend more time in-app which then leads to more advertiser interest, that’s just so much gravy.
“We’re looking to harness the one-to-one connection that happens between a user and an app, but we’re not a media company and we’re not selling tags,” Portnoy said.
That said, Portnoy isn’t ruling out a potential collaboration with Telenav and its location-based ad network down the line.
“They’re focused on the ad piece and we’re focused on the app ecosystem,” Portnoy said. “But at the end of the day we can all get smarter about data by hopefully share our learnings.”