Seattle’s Ground Truth Merges with Boston’s Umber Systems to Become NYC-Based Mobile Intelligence Solutions

Consumers who gobble up smartphones and tablets are getting revolutionary tools for work and play. An ever-growing forest of app developers is targeting the devices as a juicy new business platform. But for mobile carriers and marketing pros, it’s all about the data—who’s consuming the bandwidth, what they’re doing online, and what else they might buy while they’re there.

As of today, there’s a new company aiming to own that business. Seattle’s Ground Truth and Boston-based Umber Systems are merging to form Mobile Intelligence Solutions. The combined operation will be headquartered in New York, with branch offices in Boston, Seattle, and India.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the company said it has raised $8 million as part of the merger from each startup’s previous investors: North Bridge Venture Partners on the Umber side, and Steamboat Ventures, Voyager Capital, Emergence Capital, and Openair Equity Partners from the Ground Truth camp. Ground Truth had previously raised close to $10 million in equity financing. I couldn’t find a reference to the size of Umber’s previous fundraising, but North Bridge was the only investor listed on its site.

There’s clearly a ton of opportunity in mobile data, with growing numbers of consumers adopting smartphones and tablet computers. Big companies and startups alike are attacking the problem of how to make money out of all that information that’s flowing through those devices.

Ground Truth marketing VP Evan Neufeld says leaders in traditional Web data analysis—names like comScore, Omniture, and Google—have stepped up their game in the mobile arena. But Mobile Intelligence Solutions thinks it has a nice head start on those larger companies.

“One, mobile’s our only business. If comScore doesn’t sell a dime of mobile business, I don’t think it affects their stock price,” says Neufeld (formerly of comScore Mobile). “The other thing is that market research is really a garbage-in, garbage-out business … and we’ve got the biggest, most accurate data source in the U.S.”

Mobile Intelligence Solutions gets data from partnerships with other companies, particularly the network carriers. They’re the gatekeepers and owners of tons of information about mobile consumer … Next Page »

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