Data has only recently replaced oil as the most valuable resource. While this should surprise no one, it should act as a wake up call to refocus on data and the power that lies in it. If you are looking to access, sell, or take advantage of data, look no further than Twine. Providing a marketplace for buying and selling mobile data, Twine gives everyone what they want while creating a more informed breeding ground for better mobile products. With 204M mobile users mapped, Twine is the world’s first mobile data platform serving you.
LA TechWatch chatted with founder Elliott Easterling about the company and their most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $4.5M in a Series A, lead by Aligned Partners.
Tell us about your product or service.
Twine is a mobile data platform that works with app publishers who generate mobile data and the apps, agencies, brands, and ad tech companies who need that data for mobile ad targeting. We provide app publishers with a platform to safely generate user insights and an incremental revenue stream while delivering mobile marketers high quality mobile data that boosts campaign ROI.
What inspired you to start the company?
I started my career at a data driven mar-tech company called Digital Impact, which eventually went public and was acquired by Acxiom. I then went on to start and run an ad agency. Over time I got frustrated by the lack of scalability in agency business models and wanted to get back into a transactional business. I wanted to build something that was a dyed in the wool data company.
There are several companies out there who just deal with one aspect of mobile data such as location data, or just behavioral data, or just identity data. Twine works with all these data types, giving publishers one place they can plug into to work with their data, and mobile advertisers a rich dataset to use for targeting.
$1.6B was spent on desktop ad data in 2016. Mobile will be much bigger.
What’s your business model?
We provide a single connection for app publishers to activate and safely monetize their data. Publishers compensate Twine as a revenue share for licensing their data out or as add on fees for value added services.
What is the future of ad-targeting?
The future of ad targeting is mobile data. The desktop has 2 sensors on it. Smartphones have 7+. The future will unhinge data from media. You will pick the best data and programmatically match it with the best media. We are ahead of this opportunity.
What was the funding process like?
We really enjoyed talking to both individual and institutional investors about what is going on in our market and what they see as the promise as well as the potential challenges to come. When we met with our lead funder, Aligned Partners, things moved pretty quickly; we really felt like they understood what we are trying to do and would be an amazing partner to us.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
As a data company we kept getting slotted into adtech, which is getting really beat up in the market. Data companies continue to get large multipliers and exits. It took sophisticated investors to tell the difference.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We have been able to build a pretty impressive business, in a space where there will inevitably be big exists, off our small round of seed funding; Aligned saw a team that is dedicated to creating real value for our partners, investors, and employees.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Double-double: Double the data, double the revenue.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Resist big commitments of capital—rent a simple office, or have people work from home. Think carefully before you hire—make sure each new person fits the team culturally and can really do the job required. Get creative with your marketing—there are so many low-cost ways to make an impact these days.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are looking to solidify our leadership position as the best supply side data platform for apps.
What is your favorite LA bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
My favorite bar is at home, at the top of Mt Washington. When I do go out, I am particular to a speakeasy bar at the back of café Birdie in Highland Park.