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Audience-insight provider GWI today announced it’s raised over $180 million in funding.

GWI’s platform connects enterprises with data on consumer demographics, preferences, and behavioral attitudes in 48 countries.  By analyzing this data, companies using GWI’s platform  can develop insights into their target audience in real-time. The insights can be collected and examined without the need to conduct traditional market research, which typically relies on costly service-based models and non-scalable, offline data collection methods. 

GWI’s platform is designed to offer decision makers instant access to market research so they can collect rich data into consumers preferences and leverage this information to make marketing decisions that will help them to engage and connect with their target demographic. 

“Companies today need an instantaneous view of their audience everywhere in the world. The traditional approach of market research is not fit for purpose — too slow, incredibly expensive, and lacks the scale and detail required,” said GWI’s CEO and founder Tom Smith in an official announcement. 

“Our technology has solved this problem and the result has been incredible growth over the last three years. We can’t wait to work with Permira on our five-year goal to put audience insights in the workflow of every professional,” he said. 

Disrupting traditional market research 

Smith founded GWI in 2009, and since then the organization has continued to grow dramatically. GWI raised $40 million in 2018 as part of a series A funding round, and has also scaled to nearly 400 employees, with global offices in cities including New York, London, Prague, and Athens. 

GWI competes against several other providers in the global market research services sector, which is projected to grow from $71.86 billion in 2020 to $75.66 billion in 2021. 

One of GWI’s most widely used competitors is digital publisher Multiview, which offers a tool known as AudienceView, a solution for identifying audience segments that provides access to a first party database of more than 10 million professionals and 1,200 association publication networks.

Mutiview’s tool enables users to search for relevant audiences and demographics and identify the best ad placements to generate the most revenue.  

Another key competitor is the inbound marketing agency SmartBug Media, which recently appointed Jen Spencer as CEO. The company guides organizations in their endeavors to build marketing strategies to generate strong new leads and increase product awareness. 

While these competitors also offer access to concrete actionable, audience insights, GWI claims it differentiates itself from existing inbound marketing agencies and audience segmentation tools by offering immediate access to the largest dataset on consumers.

GWI’s approach relies on using zero-party data collected directly from consumers to provide decision makers with detailed insights into their preferences that they can use to inform future campaigns. 

The funding raises GWI’s total valuation to over $850 million and will enable the organization to expand its software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based audience insight platform. The funding round led by Permira’s growth fund.

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