Ground Truth Raises $7M More; CEO Sterling Wilson Talks Company Culture, Global Expansion

Seattle-based Ground Truth, a mobile measurement and intelligence startup, is announcing a new $7 million Series B funding round today, led by new investor Emergence Capital Partners. OpenAir Ventures, another new investor, also participated, as did existing backers Voyager Capital and Steamboat Ventures.

Ground Truth CEO and co-founder Sterling Wilson calls the deal “great confirmation of what we’re doing.” The startup came out of stealth mode in January. It provides data and analysis on how consumers use the Internet on mobile devices—things like traffic estimates for a large number of sites, how long people visit those sites, and what other sites they visit. The basic idea is to help advertisers, publishers, mobile operators, and media companies make more money on the mobile Internet.

What Ground Truth has going for it is strong relationships with wireless carriers and other partners who have access to mobile data, and patent-pending technology for processing all that data. Big players like comScore, Nielsen, Hitwise, Google, and Quantcast have lots of data on the traditional Web, but don’t yet have the equivalent information on mobile Web use.

Those advantages have helped Ground Truth amass raw data from about 3 million mobile subscribers, and update it weekly instead of every month or two like other services. (Some recent trends Ground Truth has unearthed: social networking is really exploding on mobile devices, and mobile-centric sites make up the majority of website visits on mobile devices.) Wilson says the company has “dozens” of customers and data partners, but declined to be more specific, other than to say its strategy has been “more of the same” in terms of signing up “infrastructure providers and wireless operators.” The company’s revenue model is based on paid subscriptions, not advertising.

One connection that helped seal the VC deal announced today is that Emergence Capital co-founder Jason Green had previously invested in Seattle-based aQuantive together with Voyager Capital; Emergence also has collaborated with Steamboat Ventures on investments. Meanwhile, OpenAir brings to the table strong expertise in the mobile industry and has worked with Emergence as well. (Also, $7 million is a pretty healthy amount, and it sounds like the company got it at a decent step-up in valuation compared to its $2.6 million Series A funding last year.)

The new money will be used “to expand the product offering throughout the year,” Wilson says. Part of that means going global. Ground Truth will identify countries that have a lot of mobile … Next Page »

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