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JiWire, a WiFi hotspot ad delivery service, has raised $11 million in funding. Chief executive Kevin McKenzie says the recent round will go toward expanding the company’s ongoing sales and marketing efforts, as well as research and development.
For the average WiFi surfer on the road, JiWire provides a directory of services geared towards locating and connecting to the nearest WiFi hotspot. The company maintains both browser and smartphone-based WiFi registries and actually operates a number of WiFi networks in business-centric locations like Hilton and Marritot hotels, and international airport terminals. In addition to these customer facing products, JiWire also partners with marketers to deliver advertising through its hotspots.
JiWire’s ad network works by presenting users with ads as soon as they hit the company’s login page. Due to WiFi’s limited range, the company boasts that its ad network is also incredibly efficient for delivering targeted ads. Since the company primarily sets up networks in locations frequented by the affluent, or business travelers, it’s able to partner with advertisers seeking to reach those coveted demographics. Furthermore, since JiWire’s ad network is a mandatory part of its WiFi connectivity, exposure to some form of advertising is virtually guaranteed.
McKenzie underscored the importance of R&D as the currently WiFi-based company looks to make the switch to emerging wireless solutions like WiMax. Whereas JiWire has grown used to idiosyncrasies of delivering ads within WiFi’s limited range, McKenzie says new technologies that offer faster connection speeds and wider ranges could have a significant impact on JiWire’s business. However, McKenzie assured that JiWire’s focus will also be on growing its business to scale in anticipation of these forthcoming technologies.
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