Verve Mobile raises $14M for location-based advertising

Steven Loeb · February 13, 2013 · Short URL:

Round led by Nokia Growth Partners, along with Qualcomm and BlueRun Ventures

Location-centric mobile ad network Nokia Growth Partners has raised a $14 million Series C round of financing, it was announced Wednesday.

The round was led by led by Nokia Growth Partners, with participation from new investor Qualcomm Incorporated, acting through its venture investment group, Qualcomm Ventures, and Series B lead investor BlueRun Ventures. 

Verve Mobile previously raised $7 million in funding from BlueRun Ventures in September 2010, so the company has raised at least $21 million so far. 

The money will be used to further develop and expand Verve's mobile location-based advertising and publishing products and to grow its marketing and sales capabilities.

"Verve's focus is combining big data, location-based services (LBS) and ad technologies to make mobile advertising work better for advertisers and publishers," Tom MacIsaac , Verve Mobile CEO, said in a statement.  "Nokia and Qualcomm are global leaders in mobile technology innovation and have important insights, assets, initiatives and relationships that can help Verve maintain its lead in location powered mobile advertising."

In addition to the funding, Verve also announced that  John Gardner of Nokia Growth Partners is going to be joining Verve's Board, and that Quinn Li of Qualcomm Ventures has become a Board Observer.

Founded in 2005, the EncinitasCalifornia-based Verve Mobile specializes in location-based mobile advertising, serving national brand advertisers who want to engage consumers on their mobile devices with location-aware, data-driven and highly targeted marketing.

The service offers three products:

  • Verve Ad Manager: a mobile monetization platform that publishers use for premium mobile ad serving, location-aware precision targeting, inventory management, reach extension through the Verve Local Marketplace, and reporting and analytics.
  • Verve Publisher, allows publishers to create mobile web sites and native apps. They also have access to Ad Manager.
  • Verve Local Marketplace: drives local ad dollars to national publishers and national ad dollars to local media properties. It gives local publishers larger scale and reach, while allowing national ppublishers to tap into local ad dollars and harness the power of Verve’s huge channel of partner local sales teams.

Over 3,500 publishers use the Verve platform to manage their mobile advertising businesses.

Verve has offices in New York, Washington D.C. and San Diego. 

Mobile advertising fundraising

The mobile advertising space is competitive, with a number of other companies clamoring for the same share of ad space.

There is mobile ad network InMobi, which announced  that it purchased context aware technology company Overlay Media for an undisclosed amount. There is also mobile ad/reward network Kiip, which provide rewards to casual mobile gamers for in-game achievements. The company raised $11 million in a Series B round of funding, and debuted its very own app, dubbed “Kiipsake,” which will act as a mobile wallet for all of your Kiip rewards, this past July.

Other in-app advertising models include Vungle, the in-app video ad company, which raised $2 million in a seed round last May, and LifeStreet Media, which raised $66 million in May as well.

In January, mobile advertising marketplace Chartboost raised $19 million in funding, bringing its total amount raised to $21 million.

The mobile advertising space is also growing very fast.

Mobile ad spending was projected to hit $4 billion in 2012, according to a report from eMarketer in December, primarily due to Facebook's mobile news feeds ads and Twitter’s Promoted Products.

In 2013, eMarketer expects to see $7.19 billion in mobile ad spending, and then nearly $21 billion in 2016.

Verve Mobile could not be reached for comment.

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Kiip lets premium brands provide rewards to casual mobile gamers for in-game achievements. Their platform is designed for in-game engagement via a universal game moment: the achievement moment. Catch the user while they are the most engaged, happy, and attentive. They're the first solution to help premium brands reach the exploding casual mobile gaming market using real estate in meaningful moments. Currently the network reaches just over 20 million smartphone players worldwide.

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