Move over cookies, there's a new way to track you online.
It's a new technology developed by Irvine, Calif-based BlueCava, which just got fresh validation from the investment community. BlueCava announced Tuesday that it's raised $9.5 million in Series B funding from S3 Ventures, with participation from earlier investors Mark Cuban and Tim Headington. Total funding raised is $17.7 million, including a $3 million seed round from parent company Uniloc, which BlueCava spun out of in July of last year.
"It's a very good week," said David Norris, CEO and founder of BlueCava, in an interview with me. "We had talked to a number of groups and S3 Ventures had a particularly unique set of people and capabilities which we found were a perfect fit." BlueCava received several term sheets, said David, who would not disclose the company's valuation or revenue, only to say the company is making "a lot."
BlueCava's technology essentially identifies consumer devices, such as computers, iPads and mobile phones, in order to help companies better target consumers. Think of it as fingerprinting technology, but a lot more nuanced than your typical cookies, which are used to identify people today.
"BlueCava is on plan to identify one billion devices by the middle of 2012," David said, adding, "There are about 10 billion devices that are Internet-connected in the world today."
Customers, like big airlines, use these device-identifiers in a couple of ways. First, they use them to know who's visiting their websites. Second, they use them to know who's looking at their ads.
BlueCava works by placing a simple code on a customer's homepage or advertisement.
Let's take an example of a BlueCava customer, which is a big airline. When a visitor comes to an airline's website, the airline probably doesn't know who it is: whether it's a he or she, or whether the person is a leisure traveler, frequent business traveler, or a 10 year old.
BlueCava's technology looks at the browser and captures information that is provided by the browser. This information is already available to websites, said David. But BlueCava runs a sophisticated algorithm on this information, creating an unique identifier for each person that becomes their ID.
BlueCava also has relationships with data providers, such as Experian and Datalogic. BlueCava takes the demographic - income, gender - and matches that data with the devices. The process of doing that is BlueCava's secret sauce. Now BlueCava can give a little more color on that visitor, which the airline can then offer more relevant ads to.
It all sounds useful to the airline, depending on how much BlueCava charges.
BlueCava charges per transaction, or whenever a device is identified. That cost is well under a penny, said David.
The technology is also only useful if it improves conversions. David said that BlueCava's technology can improve ads so that click-through-rates are 3% to 5% vs. one-tenth of a percent in most cases.
For those who care about their privacy, there is a way to opt out of these tracking devices. You can do so by visiting BlueCava's website or click on an advertisement to see where the ad is being delivered from and opt out right from the ad. The opt-out rate is less than one percent, said David.
(Image source: nolibel.wordpress)