When we broke the news of peer39’s initial $3 million funding in March, we reported that the company was working on a platform to use natural language processing for advertising. Less than six months later, we’ve learned that the startup has taken another $8.2 million.
The company, although trying to remain secretive, tells us it will soon be ready to launch. Peer39 combines semantic technologies with NLP to produce “groundbreaking algorithms that boost ROI for the industry,” according to a spokesman.
Back in March, investor Ed Sim of Dawntreader Ventures said on his blog, in response to our article, that the company mines unstructured data to boost conversion rates. We’re assuming it will attempt to make sense of the meaning of content on web pages, thus allowing advertisers to target ads more efficiently.
Another ad platform that recently released a so-called “semantic” advertising product is the United Kingdom’s Ad Pepper Media, which claims its iSense product can analyse every word on a web page to identify the overall subject, and then deliver an appropriate ad.
Google can do nearly as much with AdSense, though, so we think there might be more to peer39’s plan — in other words, going beyond word meaning toward sentence and overall story meaning.
Another clue might be the new website Twine, which also works with NLP and semantic search. Founder Nova Spivack told us recently that the company could potentially leverage its technology to provide users with highly targeted ads.
Twine is in the business of information collection — so it would have a large amount of the user’s personal info to work against. If peer39 wanted to do the same thing, it would need to be placed on websites where users directly interact with data.
That could be anything, from search engines to email clients. But it’s social networks, in particular, that are in desperate need of this kind of technology if they want to reach high valuations.
Of course, we’re just speculating.
The $8.2 million round of funding was led by Warren Lee at Canaan Partners, who will join the board. JPMorgan also participated. The previous round of $3 million came from Dawntreader Ventures.