Captify raises £8m series B investment

Panoramic Growth Equity (“Panoramic”), a leading equity investor in fast growing, entrepreneurial companies, today announced that portfolio company Captify Media (“Captify”),  one of the fastest growing advertising technology businesses in Europe and a market leader in search retargeting, has secured £8m of series B funding, led by Smedvig Capital with follow on commitments from all existing investors including Panoramic Growth Equity.

This injection of funding will enable Captify to invest in its search intelligence technology, expand its product suite and accelerate international expansion.

The company received £1.2m of Series A investment from Panoramic Growth Equity in 2013.  Within two years, it increased its gross revenue by almost 300% and its employee base from 11 to 65.  It has also opened offices in Hamburg and Kiev, with a third to open in Paris this summer; and is expected to achieve revenues of over £15m this year.

The company has developed the largest independent search data network in Europe, covering 550m unique users globally and billions of searches.  Captify works with over 88 media agencies in the UK and over 100 in Europe; and runs campaigns on behalf of the world’s largest brands including Microsoft, British Airways, Barclays, Warner Brothers, SKY, BMW, Hilton and American Express; all of whom use its proprietary technology to engage with consumers at the key point of intent.

Captify’s search intelligence powers its core search retargeting offer.  Search retargeting is the fastest growing segment in the digital media industry. Captify has played a pioneering role in this market, disrupting the industry with its search intelligence technology, empowering brands by leveraging its intent driven data asset.  As a result of achieving clear differentiation in the digital media landscape, it has secured long term trading deals with some of the world’s largest media agency groups.

The latest investment will enable Captify to consolidate its market leading position in the UK; build on its already strong position in key European markets; and support further expansion into overseas geographies.  The strength of the market opportunity for Captify is evidenced by increasing search and display advertising spend across the world, which is expected to reach £145.5bn by 2016 (Zenith Optimedia).

Captify has already established itself as a pioneer in search intelligence and this investment will facilitate further product innovation.  Captify plans to add new channels to its product suite, launching the world’s first mobile search product (with the global market for mobile advertising and analytics currently valued at $18 billion, rising to $42 billon in 2017 according to Gartner); as well as video products this year, (capitalising on a market that is currently valued at $4 billion, and experiencing 43% year on year growth).

Captify is a multi-award winning business, named as UK’s number 1 Startup (Startups100), described by SMARTA as “the most original, exciting, resourceful and disruptive business in the UK”, and listed among the top 50 fast growth companies in the UK by Santander Breakthrough 50 (2014). The London based founders, Dominic Joseph (aged 30) and Adam Ludwin (aged 27) who set up the business in 2011, have also been named Young Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Great British Entrepreneur Award and the WCIT awards.  Both came from digital media backgrounds on both the buy and sell sides of the industry, before combining to form Captify.

Captify has also been able to attract some of the brightest minds in advertising technology, including recent senior hires from Google, Yahoo, WPP and AOL, among others.

Malcolm Kpedekpo, Partner at Panoramic Growth Equity, who has backed Captify since 2013, commented:

“We have worked closely with the team since 2013 when Dom and Adam accepted institutional capital for the first time, and in that short period Captify has achieved exceptional growth, realised its ambition to move into overseas markets and significantly built its base of in house talent.    They have strongly held their dominant market leading position in Europe against competition from US competitors and are now well placed to make their mark on the global search intelligence market.   There is no question that this business has an exciting future ahead.  We are delighted to be investing further in the company and look forward to working in collaboration with new investor Smedvig.

After 3 successful exits from our first fund,  this transaction represents further validation of our ability to add value to the companies we back and support successful companies through the various stages of their growth cycle.  This is another important milestone for the Panoramic team as we raise our second fund, the £50m Panoramic Growth Fund 2.”

Dominic Joseph, co founder and CEO of Captify commented:

“This £8m investment is a significant milestone for Captify as it will enable us to consolidate our position as the European market leader in search data driven advertising and analytics and put us on course to claim true global leadership.  It is indicative of how the European ad tech space is flourishing and providing genuinely tough competition to established US rivals.”

Adam Ludwin, co-founder and CVO of Captify, added:

“In the last two years we have blazed a trail in technological innovation and can now confidently say that we are the only people to successfully bridge the gap between search and display in Europe.  This investment marks a coming of age for Captify as we prepare to bring search retargeting to new channels like mobile and video and to strengthen our claim on global leadership.”

Jon Lerner, Principal at Smedvig Capital, commented:

“Captify is the clear European leader in a very exciting, disruptive and fast growing segment of advertising technology.  The Captify team has built fantastic client relationships through proprietary technology, unique data, great performance and excellent customer service. There is a large global market opportunity here, and we are very much looking forward to working closely with Dom and Adam to further scale the business.”

Advisers to the transaction

Results International – Corporate Finance advisors to Captify

Olswang – Lawyers to Captify

Baker Tilly – Financial Due Diligence for Smedvig

Intuitus – Technical Due Diligence for Smedvig

Bird and Bird – Lawyers to Smedvig

HBJ Gateley – Lawyers to Panoramic

About Search Retargeting

Search intelligence is currently one of the fastest growing segments of programmatic advertising. Using its proprietary semantic technology Captify understands user intent expressed through search keywords and as such is able to offer advertisers and brands advertising solutions along with analytics packages to improve marketing efficiency. Captify engage with users through Desktop, Mobile and Video based on their recent search activity online.  This is a step beyond “site retargeting” where consumers are required to visit a website before being identified as a potentially addressable customer.  Captify’s proprietary technology delivers significant insight to advertisers allowing them to determine the value of a customer and their purchase intent, and significantly increases targeting precision.