The world of marketing has become the world of marketing tech. But marketers aren’t necessarily engineers, so working with the terabytes of data produced by their campaigns can be a challenge. Today, the Stockholm startup is named funnel, which has created a no-code platform to help manage that process, is announcing $66 million in funding, a development round that underscores market demand for such devices. Funnel is describing this as a “pre-IPO” round: it will be its last before it goes public, possibly in its domestic market, and is likely to take place over the next six to 18 months.
Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund (AP4) and Stena Sesson are co-leading the round, with previous backers Balderton Capital, Eight Roads, F-Prime, Aux, and Industriefonden also participating. Co-founder and CEO, Fredrik Schantz, said the company is not disclosing its valuation, but added that it was significantly higher than the pre-money valuation in its previous round, a pre-pandemic $47 million in January 2020. Series B.
As a measure of funnel size, the company has about 1,200 large customers, about half of which are in the US, including brands such as Home Depot, Trivago, Skechers, Samsung, Vodafone, Logitech, Skyscanner and SAS – Scandinavian Airlines. As Havas Media, a division of the French advertising and PR giants, Ogilvy and DAC Group.
The challenge that Funnel is tackling is that marketing has become a massively digitized business: although outdoor, print, television, and other analog campaigns still account for 40% of marketing spend, up from 60% on digital. drop offs.
It’s a ratio that’s still growing enormously, not least because digital marketing provides a more measurable picture of how well a campaign is doing: people engage and respond on social media; They click on the link; They share information on other platforms. The increasing ubiquity of digital marketing also means that the data sources commonly used by a marketer are also increasing.
“Four or five years ago, a marketer typically used seven data sources,” Schentz said. “Then it increased to 10. Now, our customers may be using 20 to 30 or 70 or 80 data sources. If you are active in 50 markets it becomes a complicated problem.”
But this also leads to data problems. When there are fewer platforms and marketing campaigns running, a marketer typically relies on using spreadsheets or tools specific to a single campaign to analyze the data. However, this becomes untenable as data sources grow and as marketers want to get out of that information, expectations increase. Working with the data thus generated usually requires the help of a data scientist so that it can be reported in a more useful manner.
“It’s not enough to just use the raw data,” Schantz said. “Facebook alone has 700 metrics, and the data you’ll get from a campaign just goes into a data warehouse. So you have to make it business-ready, you have to generalize it. That means something like SQL.” And that means marketers themselves can’t work directly with that funnel of data.”
Funnel’s platform is able to “read”, organize, and generate reports through a set of pre-designed rules for the various datasets that emerge from these campaigns, or a company can customize for itself. It currently uses some 550 different data sources (from social media platforms to search engines and more: basically any digital platform that can be used by a marketer to run a campaign). ) handles. And it’s adding more when customers use them, Schantz said. Via a drop-down menu, non-technical marketers can do, he said, “all the things they would have previously asked an IT person to do, to phase out the data.”
The key is also that it focuses on marketing, which sets it apart from other competitors that provide low-code tools to help organize data for further business intelligence or reporting applications.
“Five years ago I would have thought that BI tools would solve this, but the problem is that they are too horizontal, and cover any type of data, be it marketing, geographic, financial or other. So within In marketing it can cover only five data sources, whereas we have 550,” he said. “You can’t solve the problem of pulling data unless you’re vertical in some sort of segment. It’s the same with Snowflake: It has 200 connectors but they’re in too many areas.”
The future growth of the funnel may seem completely reassuring: More online activity leads to more marketing activity, and marketers are expected to report and deliver more, not less, of what they do and their customers. provide information about. On the other hand, the market is evolving. People don’t want to be tracked; rules are in place that make it difficult to collect marketing data; There is a growing body of technology that is looking for ways to create “synthetic” datasets, which could mean less reliance on pulling data from marketing campaigns, which could mean less business for the funnel of the world; And the platforms are changing their tune too.
“The restrictions that Apple has put on tracking on iOS have had a big impact, especially for B2C companies,” Schentz said. “They are not seeing the same performance as before. This is something our customers are worried about but so far it has not affected us. Our role is to pull the data down so that others can understand it. We are somewhat like Switzerland here. We are one step away from the mechanics of EdTech.”
Regardless of how it evolves, it’s a good argument to diversify your platform to cover more than just marketing.
There are many tools in the market today that are also creating better ordering methods of data so that they can be used for better business intelligence. These include Collibra and Acryl and many others. The key with the funnel is that it’s firmly presented as a tool for non-technical people, and it’s designed with marketing in mind, Schantz noted. That being said, the company plans to move beyond marketing over time. “We are already pulling data for sales teams and e-commerce teams,” he said, and it is also eyeing a move to provide data reporting tools for the finance sector.
In the context of this latest fundraising “pre-IPO” round is about bringing in institutional investors who will also be part of the IPO process.
“We are long-term investors who look for companies we love and hold them for the long term. We were impressed by the size of the global opportunity and the team’s ambition to build a large software company,” Janice Kitskis, Senior Portfolio Manager at AP4, said in a statement.
“The funnel has shown strong, predictable growth with market metrics and a global footprint,” said Fredrik Konopic, Stena Cesson’s investment director. “We think the company is well positioned for the public market in Sweden.”