Toronto-based startup Trufan has raised a $2.3 million CAD seed round of funding, as the company looks to consolidate its two core products and offer a first-party audience analytics platform.
Trufan is looking to combine its two products to help brands better leverage first-party data.
The seed round was led by Moneta Ventures, with participation from GP Ventures, Protocol Ventures and a handful of angels, including Innovative Fitness founder Curtis Christopherson, Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favours, and Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young. The athlete angel investments were facilitated by Athlete Technology Group, a venture event and media company.
Trufan is an audience analytics startup that aims to help brands better understand their audience while generating relevant data that allows them to grow.
In November, when acquiring Kelowna-based PLAYR.gg, Swish Goswami, co-founder and CEO of Trufan, told BetaKit the startup planned to raise a $3 million USD seed round. This target was later reduced to $1.5 million USD, according to Goswami. The startup ended up raising $2.3 million CAD ($1.8 million USD).
At the end of 2020, Trufan also revealed plans to expand into the first-party data market, and with the new funding, it is looking to combine its two core products to focus on helping brands better leverage first-party data.
First-party data refers to information collected directly from a brand’s audience or customers. It is unlike third-party data, which is bought from outside sources that are not the original collectors of that data, which can present privacy concerns for consumers.
Currently, Trufan’s offers two products that have different purposes. These products are used by over 10,000 free users and 600 paying customers, including Netflix, the National Basketball Association, and Sony Music. The first product generates first-party data to allow brands to accomplish their growth objectives through sweepstakes and discounts in exchange for emails or phone numbers. Trufan obtained this technology when it acquired PLAYR.GG in November.
The second product is an audience segmentation tool. That tool allows brands to create a report to sort their followers based on their influence, follower count, or engagement metrics. Trufan obtained this technology as part of its acquisition of Social Rank in 2019.
Trufan’s goal is to combine these two products into one consolidated platform and provide an end-to-end experience for users.
The new platform would have unified pricing and a centralized brand and would allow companies to generate first-party data and grow their gaming audience, through giveaway marketing and custom API integration, while being able to activate first-party data.
Trufan has made a deeper push into first-party data for a number of reasons.
“The key thing that we’ve noticed is that there’s a third-party data apocalypse going on. What I mean by that is a lot of data that brands traditionally relied upon is going away,” the CEO told BetaKit.
Due to persistent privacy concerns surrounding the collection and use of third-party data, many large technology companies such as Google are now moving away from this form of data collection. Last week, Google announced it would phase out using browser cookies for advertising purposes. With its operating system for its mobile devices, Apple is asking users to opt into device activity tracking.
This big tech push towards more privacy protection echoes what regulators have pushed for in recent years. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are looking to make it more difficult for advertisers to use third-party data. In April, the two regulatory bodies for the CCPA and GDPR released new privacy guidelines and compliance checklists pertaining to third-party data collection.
“With all of these changes happening, brands are slowly going to have to realize that they need to adapt or die,” said Goswami. “The way to adapt is by being able to focus on what are channels that we can get customer data in a compliant and high-quality manner that allow us to actually have ownership over that data.”
Goswami said Trufan’s push into first-party data was not a pivot, rather it represented an evolution for the startup. He said the startup’s audience segmentation tool would be applicable to third-party data as well as first-party data after the products are combined. The goal is to launch this consolidated platform in mid-2021.
With the new funding, the startup is also looking to add staff in development, as well as marketing and customer success. Goswami aims to bring the team to 40 people by the end of the year.
Following the deal, Sabya Das, partner at Moneta Ventures, has joined Trufan’s board of directors. As part of the financing, which represents the startup’s first priced round, Goswami said all previous investors that invested based on SAFE agreements have been converted to equity shareholders.
Image courtesy Trufan.