Measuring foot traffic in real time is the pursuit of countless businesses seeking greater insight into buyer behavior. Startups like PlaceIQ, Factual, GroundTruth, Skyhook, and others have risen up to meet the need — they occupy a market that’s estimated to be worth $22.8 billion by 2024. A somewhat newer entrant is Placer.ai, which was cofounded in 2016 by Noam Ben-Zvi, Oded Fossfeld, Ofir Lemel, and Zohar Bar-Yehuda. It might not rival location data giants like FourSquare and ThinkNear, but it managed to nab $12 million this week in a funding round led by BV Capital with participation from Aleph, Reciprocal Ventures, OCA Ventures, existing investors, and an undisclosed group of new strategic investors.
According to CEO Ben-Zvi, the fresh capital — which brings Tel Aviv- and Los Altos, California-based Placer’s total raised to over $16 million — will bolster operations and product development. “Placer lifts the fog and empowers all professionals with actionable insights into any location, enabling better, faster decisions,” he said in a statement. “This results in smarter growth, more sustainable businesses, and allows newer players to enter the market.”
Placer’s eponymous platform provides foot traffic counts and dwell times, as well as “true trade areas” — where people live and work — drawn from well over 100 popular third-party smartphone apps. Its customers, which include JLL, Regency, SRS, Brixmor, Verizon, and Caesars Entertainment, can filter by time or day of the week, and segment to pinpoint folks of a certain gender or income level. Alternatively, courtesy of AI and machine learning algorithms, they can benchmark their businesses’ performance against that of competitors and conduct analyses to reveal emerging brands and trends by category and region.
Using Placer’s API, developers can build dashboards with industry-specific visualizations or feed Placer’s data into existing apps and services. Its location data set supports the creation of any number of reports, such as chain and store performance and visitor demographics, and it can be used to identify trends and build predictive models.
The platform’s scope and granularity is admittedly disquieting — Placer says it can track the movements of over 60% and 40% of of Android and iOS users in the U.S., respectively — but the company claims it’s committed to keeping personal information away from prying eyes. To this end, every app partner it works with must obtain consent to gather location data, and Placer says it never collects personally identifiable information or attempts to re-identify users.
“Placer’s rapid growth has been amazing to witness,” said JBV Capital general partner Jeffrey Bazar. “Noam and his team have done a remarkable job simplifying and standardizing how companies of all sizes support these business-critical use cases. As a result, they have built the new clear software leader in the industry, which represents an incredibly large market that can’t adopt Placer’s solution fast enough.”