JiWire gets $11 million in funding for mobile audience and ad growth

jiwire-logoJiWire, the leading mobile audience media company, has secured $11 million in a round of funding led by Panorama Capital. Panorama was joined by new investor Comcast Interactive Capital and existing investor DFJ Frontier. The investment allows JiWire to build on its momentum by providing marketers with more opportunities to reach the rapidly expanding on-the-go mobile audience.

JiWire was the first company to use wireless Internet access as a medium for advertising and now reaches 20 million unique users per month across 25,000 Wi-Fi hotspots. This network of hotspots offers a new opportunity for marketers to serve ads to people using their laptops and smart phones on the go and reach an affluent, technology-savvy audience in popular locations including airports, hotels, cafes, cruise ships, city centers and even in-flight. As people become more mobile and spend less time with traditional media, new media and technologies that let advertisers engage with a mobile audience, such as digital signage and Wi-Fi networks, are emerging.

“JiWire is the clear leader in monetizing Wi-Fi with digital advertising and has a proven track record of connecting blue chip advertisers with their relevant audiences,” said Chris Albinson, partner at Panorama Capital. “We’re excited about the company’s rapid growth and look forward to the continued accelerating adoption of broadband wireless technologies that will fuel JiWire’s expansion plans. The mobile Web and Wi-Fi are increasingly synonymous, and JiWire is the only company to reach people who are using this as a media on a scale that allows for powerful brand engagement.”

According to In-Stat, in 2008, 387 million new Wi-Fi devices shipped, including 56 million cellular devices and 71 million portable consumer electronic devices. Also in 2008, large U.S. carriers adopted Wi-Fi as a primary way to allow their customers to connect to the mobile web.

“Wi-Fi has grown substantially over the years — both in consumer devices and in hotspots at public locations — and we expect continued growth in the near future,” said Daryl Schoolar, senior analyst with In-Stat. “With increased Wi-Fi penetration in phones despite a weak economy and service providers beginning to incorporate Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity in data plans, it is clear that consumers want and expect to be connected everywhere they go and Wi-Fi is a great solution for this.”

“People expect to have Internet access anywhere and advertisers are looking for new ways to connect with an increasingly mobile audience,” said Kevin McKenzie, founder and chief executive officer of JiWire. “Our network combines out-of-home exposure with the interactivity of online media and the ability to target every impression. We know how and where people connect, giving advertisers new and exciting ways to reach this mobile audience and measure the success of their campaigns.”

Consumers increasingly access the Internet through wireless broadband devices — such as laptops and Wi-Fi enabled phones like the iPhone — from places outside of their home and office. JiWire leverages this growing medium for advertisers while enabling wireless Internet service operators to monetize their networks in new ways.

About JiWire
JiWire is the leading mobile audience media company, delivering advertising across premier locations and devices. JiWire’s breakthrough advertising medium enables marketers to reach an influential mobile demographic at the point-of-connection. JiWire’s portfolio of blue-chip advertisers, combined with its market-proven delivery platform and registry of hotspot locations, enables wireless broadband networks and device manufacturers to leverage advertising as a currency for wireless Internet access. For more information, please visit www.jiwire.com or call (415) 877-4711.
About Panorama Capital
Panorama Capital is a venture capital firm focused on life sciences and technology companies. Panorama Capital was founded in 2005 by: Srinivas Akkaraju M.D., Ph.D.; Christopher J. Albinson; Rodney A. Ferguson, J.D., Ph.D.; Shahan D. Soghikian; and Damion E. Wicker, M.D., along with a core team of investment professionals who worked together for many years. Together, this team has a singular focus: helping entrepreneurs build market-leading companies. Panorama invests in entrepreneurs and teams who share its values: a passion to build great companies; an unyielding focus on people and teamwork; and a commitment to integrity. Panorama’s philosophy is to make that same commitment to the teams it supports, over and above its financial investment, and to take a hands-on, highly collaborative approach to investing, bringing to each portfolio company the team’s extensive operating and investing experience.
About Comcast Interactive Capital
Comcast Interactive Capital (CIC) is a venture capital fund focused on broadband, enterprise and interactive technologies. CIC is affiliated with Comcast Corporation (CMCSA), a diversified global leader in cable, broadband services, telecommunications and entertainment. CIC’s primary goal is to generate superior financial returns from private equity investments in early-stage technology companies. To achieve this goal, CIC works to foster the success of its portfolio companies by bringing to bear the unique resources, experience, and insight of both CIC and the Comcast family of companies.

About DFJ Frontier
DFJ Frontier is a venture capital fund known for early stage investing in a broad range of technology companies throughout the West Coast. DFJ Frontier backs passionate entrepreneurs and provides business assistance, not just capital. The firm typically leads the first round of investment, taking a significant stake in the company and an active role on the Board of Directors. DFJ Frontier is an affiliate of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and has offices in Sacramento and Santa Barbara, California.

Source: JiWire

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