- New investment will enable ad-tech firm to ‘scale up’ and meet demand for cookieless solutions post-GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
- Illuma set to expand its team, products and base of blue-chip company clients
- Blackfinch Ventures reinforces its commitment to investing in innovative tech companies
London-based llluma Technology, a contextual advertising company which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to expand online campaigns by reacting to live browsing behaviour, has secured a £1.1m Series A investment from Blackfinch Ventures.
Founded in 2016 by leading data scientists and media experts, Illuma’s GDPR- compliant platform offers an alternative to cookie-based targeting which results in a better return on investment for advertisers.
Unlike other contextual ad-tech, Illuma works reactively in real-time, expanding campaigns to seek relevant new audiences based on the contexts that are proving most effective for each brand. It does this without relying on cookies, personal data or pre-built contextual segments.
The investment funds will allow Illuma to further scale-up its operations, including building on its pipeline of prospective clients, expanding its team, developing new products and further enhancing its proprietary technology.
Illuma’s expansion comes in response to growing demand from new and existing customers – including global brands such as Microsoft, American Express, Aviva and TUI - ahead of Google’s plans to remove cookies from its Chrome internet browser in 2023.
Commenting on the investment and the company’s growth plans, Illuma co-founder Peter Mason, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Blackfinch, who share our vision of advancing sustainable and ethical business solutions.
“This investment comes at an exciting time for Illuma as the advertising industry considers partnerships for the cookieless future, and it will enable us to further evolve our algorithms, grow our team and develop products in areas such as Connected TV (CTV).”
Dr Reuben Wilcock, Ventures Director at Blackfinch, said: “We were very impressed by the calibre of Illuma’s management team, as well as its impressive track record working to deliver campaigns on behalf of a myriad of leading international brands.
“With this latest investment Illuma is now in a strong position to scale up its operations, and to continue to expand its list of blue-chip clients.
“We are delighted to have this opportunity to work alongside the business during an exciting period of growth, and very much looking forward to seeing it continue on its upward trajectory of success in the months ahead.”
Earlier this year Blackfinch Ventures completed on 12 new investment deals totalling in excess of £11 million ahead of the tax-year-end deadline in April.
A number of other deals have also been completed throughout the year, including follow on investment in commercial real estate valuation software firm Edozo.
Earlier this year Blackfinch revealed it had raised a total of £10.4 million through Blackfinch’s EIS Ventures Portfolios in the tax year ending April 2021, which has been invested in innovative start-up and early-stage technology companies across the UK in a variety of industry sectors.
A further £5.8 million was raised through its Spring Venture Capital Trust (VCT) which invests primarily in companies at the start of their growth journey.
The portfolio now includes businesses such as Candidate.ID, Staffcircle and Kokoon, as well as digital vendor management platform Brooklyn Vendor Assurance, global client engagement platform Clientshare, embedded integration platform Cyclr, real-time market research company OnePulse and hyper-realistic text-to-speech platform LSTN.
The latest round of investments is indicative of the wider Blackfinch Group’s commitment to helping to create a more sustainable world through its own focus on environment, social and governance (ESG) factors.
Dr Reuben Wilcock added: “The growing Ventures portfolio is reflective not only of Blackfinch’s commitment to investing in innovative technology driven companies that reflect our own environment, social and governance values, but also the value that those businesses see in having us as their investment partner and the role that we can play in furthering their growth ambitions.”