News & Analysis

Australian adtech startup Unlockd closes $15 million Series A round ahead of UK launch

- April 27, 2016 2 MIN READ

Australian AdTech startup Unlockd has closed a $15 million Series A round from global business icons ahead of launch into the UK. The company’s second major strategic expansion, the UK launch will mean the company’s technology is now available to more than 20 million customers across the US and UK.

The Series A funding has come from investors including Jedd Emmanuel from PLC Ventures, Peter Gammell, non-exec at Seven West Media, and Sam Mostyn, board member of Virgin Australia and Citibank. The startup has also received investment from Radek Sali, CEO of Swisse Wellness, and Greg Roebuck, CEO of carsales.com.au.

The round comes after Unlockd announced an initial double digit seed funding raise, estimated to be around $15 million in October last year, backed by Catch of the Day founders Gabby and Hezi Leibovich and Lachlan Murdoch. The startup’s new business model and growth plans caught the interest of high profile investors and also sparked strategic deals and partnerships with various telco providers.

The partnership with Boost Mobile launched in January in the US saw its platform made available to nine million customers through the telco’s new Boost Dealz app.

“Unlockd has built a world-class, simple innovation that helps to solve a key challenge facing the telecoms industry, that of falling ARPUs [average revenue per user]. It was this intelligent, first to market solution that particularly attracted me; it places Unlockd in a unique a position to positively change the global telecommunications industry,” said Sali.

The company said its international expansion and increasing support from investors has validated its innovative solutions and products.

“The telco industry is facing a continual decline in ARPUs, at the same time as growing competition to keep prices low for consumers. This is due in part to the massive increase in data usage per user, as smartphones become the screen for browsing, playing games and viewing content,” said Unlockd cofounder Matt Berriman.

Unlockd’s solutions include offering customers the ability to earn extra data or calling credit in exchange for viewing targeted ads on their lockscreen. Through this, the startup also provides a unique avenue for advertisers and media publishers to reach a highly targeted audience, which helps to solve the challenges faced by telecommunications companies around the world.

“Unlockd ensures carriers can stabilise or increase their ARPUs through new revenue streams while also giving their customers rewards and helping keep their phone bills down,” Berriman explained.

Unlockd’s smart ads can be customised by the user’s preferences, location, and time of day to make sure the content displayed is relevant and valuable.

The market for Unlockd is huge: according to eMarketer this year global mobile advertising is expected to exceed US$100 billion, accounting for more than half of all digital ad revenue.

Berriman said, “This is a game changer because it generates new 
revenue streams and reduces churn for telcos, whilst giving consumers a new way to pay for their smartphone usage and allows advertisers to reach that holy grail 
of geo-targeted, fullscreen mobile advertising.”

Image: Matt Berriman. Source: Supplied.