In 2013, Nico Jaspers, who previously founded market research firm Dalia Research, began noticing a shift in consumer behavior: More people were easily reachable via their smartphones. He realized that phones could become a key way to reach people for product research purposes, opening the door to opportunities to hear new points of view.
Armed with this insight, Jaspers teamed up with Fernando Guillén to launch Latana, a platform that bids on mobile ad space to deliver short research surveys to users. In a sign investors continue to believe in the idea, Latana today closed a €36 million (~$35.79 million) Series B funding round -- €10 million (~$9.94 million) of which was debt -- led by Oxx with participation from Balderton Capital and Kreos.
"Brand marketing is probably the only remaining large cost item at consumer businesses that is not well understood and measured," Jaspers said. "We’re solving that problem and providing more visibility not just for brand marketers but also for executives who usually take a keen interest in understanding brand performance ... [Latana] helps them understand their target audiences, and evaluate what makes people buy from them rather than their competitor."
To this end, Latana collects data from the mobile-optimized surveys it distributes, using an AI system to identify trends that brands might wish to know about their target audiences. The platform attempts to ensure the changing composition of the surveys -- e.g. the makeup of respondents -- doesn't impact the empirical results, and it applies algorithms so that drilling down to audience segments doesn't vastly increase the margin of error.
Image Credits: Latana
"We’re currently building what will be the world’s largest database on brand performance, tracking over 100,000 brands across the globe," Jaspers continued. "We see a huge increase in demand for analytics solutions that create more visibility on brand performance, and expect this to continue."
Latana isn't alone in the space. Established rivals include Ipsos, Kantar and YouGov, as well as startups like Attest, Streetbees and Quantilope. But Jaspers argues that few focus on brand analytics, which is Latana's specialty.
"Through our platform, we’re collecting tens of millions of answers per month from millions of users across the world," Jaspers said -- noting that the platform doesn't store personal data. "Now was a good time to raise [new capital] because in light of tightening marketing budgets, the topic of marketing efficiency is top of the agenda for most companies, and many brands search for solutions. We want to accelerate our go-to-market."
Oxx general partner and Latana board member Mikael Johnsson added in a statement: "Powered by novel sampling methods and advanced statistical processing techniques Latana is disrupting this paradigm by providing brand marketers with accurate, timely and affordable brand marketing data. This provides for an enormous market opportunity and we're convinced that Nico and the Latana team are in pole position to build a really large company."
Latana currently employs a team of about 70 people, and it plans to double headcount next year. The company's total capital raised to date stands at €44 million ($43.75 million).