Smartphone users may be flocking to adblocking apps, but Australian startup Unlockd believes that users may be persuaded to look at and interact with ads if they’re given something valuable in return – extra data.
It seems investors agree, with Unlockd today announcing the closing of its third funding round, raising a figure in the “double digit millions.”
The startup, founded by Matt Berriman, Chris Kerrisk, and Craig Watt, revealed it has secured investment from a number of high profile figures including Gabby and Hezi Leibovich of the Catch Group, Matt Rockman of Seek.com, Andrew Walsh of Hitwise, and former managing director and CEO of Seven Group Holdings Peter Gammell. A report from the Australian Financial Review put the amount raised at about $15 million, with participation in the round from Lachlan Murdoch.
Currently working on Android devices, Unlockd works by licensing its technology to telecommunications companies. The telcos then produce an app which displays targeted, non-intrusive ads, pieces of content, or deals on a phone lockscreen every three or four times a user goes to unlock their phone.
Matt Berriman, CEO and cofounder of Unlockd, believes Unlockd that has the potential to change the way people use and pay for their smartphones forever.
“This is a game changer because it generates new revenue streams and reduces churn for telcos, while giving consumers a new way to pay for their smartphone usage and allows advertisers to reach that holy grail of geo-targeted, full-screen mobile advertising. This is a global play and will be revenue generating from day one,” he said.
As well as the closing of its funding round, Unlockd has also announced its first local launch partner. Lebara Mobile users who use the Unlockd app will be eligible for extra credit or 2GB of bonus data per month, worth up to $20.
Michael Baxter, Lebara’s commercial director, said, “People have become extremely sophisticated with their smartphones and are using up more data than ever. By partnering with Unlockd, we’re giving Lebara customers the option to boost their data allowance and stay connected for longer, in return for a tailored and reward-driven experience.”
Berriman said Unlockd is “on track” to be turning over $50 million in revenue within the next year as it gears up for launch in the US early next year.
The startup expects to have over 40 staff across offices in Melbourne, New York and London by the first quarter of 2016, and to have its technology available in the UK, India, China, Singapore, and Indonesia by the end of next year.
Image: Matt Berriman. Source: Provided.