With a Cookieless Future on the Horizon, Adtech Startup Permutive Scores $75M

The fresh funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and will be used to further grow the company’s platform and team.
Written by Ellen Glover
November 2, 2021Updated: November 2, 2021
NYC-based Permutive raised $75M, hiring
Image: Shutterstock

Personal data and digital advertising go hand in hand. Sites track user activity through cookies and use them to generate targeted ads, resulting in (ideally) more clicks on those ads, but also some major privacy concerns among consumers. As the law continues to catch up with the times, web browsers are beginning to phase out support for third-party cookies — good news for privacy advocates but bad news for publishers’ bottom line.

To mitigate loss in revenue, advertisers have begun buying customer data directly from publishers without cookies as a middleman. But without an infrastructure to support the transaction, it’s unlikely the industry will be able to scale as needed.

That’s where Permutive comes in. The adtech startup says it has figured out a way to help digital advertisers and publishers own and control their own data to help inform ad planning and buying campaigns. From a single anonymous pageview, the platform can collect 20 to 30 data points about a visitor, which it can then use to project who that visitor might be and what they may be interested in doing or buying. 

“Publishers are the foundation of the web, and the relationship they have with their users is the backbone of digital advertising,” Permutive CEO and co-founder Joe Root said in a statement. “As privacy shifts the economics of the internet towards this publisher-owned web, a privacy-first infrastructure will ensure this next iteration of digital advertising is immune to privacy chaos, will scale, and thrive.”

So far, Permutive’s model appears to be getting some traction. The company says its platform has seen targeted ads on its platform grow 20x over the last two years, and it has garnered the support of media giants like Hearst, BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Condé Nast International.

Just this week the startup also raised a fresh $75 million Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, which it will use to continue this growth. The money will also be used to quadruple its headcount over the next two years, with a handful of open tech jobs available now at its NYC office.

Looking ahead, Max Ohrstrand, an investor at SoftBank, seems to think Permutive has the potential to be a major player in the web’s privacy-first future.

“Permutive can bring a complicated landscape that’s being significantly disrupted into a privacy-safe future,” he said in a statement. “The company’s technology is now running on over 1 billion devices a month globally, and we see tremendous opportunity for sustained growth as on-device processing reshapes adtech.”

Jobs at Permutive

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