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July 15, 2015

Zeta to Fund Big Data Buying Spree with $125M Round

Alex Woodie

Software companies with promising machine learning technologies will be on the radar of Zeta Interactive following the firm’s $125 million funding round. The company, which delivers analytics services primarily to marketers, is on the hunt for promising startups to help it grow.

Zeta CEO David Steinberg told Bloomberg that the company is especially interested in acquiring analytics and machine learning technologies with the nine-digit round of funding, which was led by the credit unit of Blackstone Group.

“What we found was, as we wanted to take the business to the next level, it made sense for us to raise” money, Steinberg told Bloomberg. “The primary acquisition targets are great technologies that we can merge with our platform.”

Zeta Interactive was founded in 2007 by Steinberg and John Sculley, who was CEO at Apple in between Steve Jobs’ stints. The company was originally created to provide a digital marketing service to customers that could leverage the new forms of media that people were using, such as smartphones and social networks.

Four years ago the company shifted strategies to deliver a big data platform upon which customers—Fortune 500 firms as well as mid-market firms—could drive their own digital marketing campaigns.

Today the company’s platform contains more than 350 million + consumer records, which Zeta’s clients can explore using its various data-driven marketing engines. The goal is to match what companies are selling to the most receptive consumer segment, and then automating the execution of that campaign across five media categories: email, display advertising, social media, search results, and mobile devices.

Marketing initiatives in the past may have focused on massive branding activities, but the future of marketing is much more nuanced than that, and that’s where Zeta is making its mark.

“The future of marketing, in our opinion, is attribution and allocation versus, how do we build this huge brand,” Steinberg told TechCrunch earlier this month. “A lot of dollars are spent on branding on ecosystems where they will ultimately focus on acquisition, retention and monetization.”

The funding round values the New York City company at about $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. That not only puts it in the “unicorn” status of private companies worth more than $1 billion, but it also makes Zeta one of the largest data analytics companies in the world.

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