Retail Data Startup Placer.ai Scores $12M in Series A Funding

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Placer.ai, a location data company, closed a $12 million Series A round with plans to expand its sales efforts and data capabilities. 

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The round was led by JBV Capital, and other participants included Aleph, Reciprocal Ventures and OCA Ventures.

The California-based Placer.ai provides data and analytics for retail owners, brokers and retailers, offering strategic insight into offline consumer behavior. 

The data, mostly derived from shoppers’ cell phones, can be used to understand traffic patterns and demographic data within a geographic area, such as a shopping center or a city block, said Placer.ai CEO and co-founder Noam Ben Zvi. “A lot of shopping center owners use it to decide about buying and selling, [operators] use it to inform staffing decisions, leasing departments will use it to convince tenants to locate there,” Ben Zvi said. 

For example, the company issued a November report showing that visits to Essex Crossing in the Lower East Side reached a peak of over 550,000 visitors for the month of July 2019. The report also noted that, in the prior six month period, locals accounted for about half of all shoppers at the property, compared with 22.5% of visitors at Hudson Yards

While the software already includes a variety of data inputs, the new funding will go toward adding additional data sources, per Ben Zvi. That includes credit card, weather and psychographic data, which segments shoppers by lifestyle, dividing them into categories such as soccer moms, artists or gamers.

Placer.ai is one of a variety of location data startups providing insights to commercial real estate owners and operators, particularly in the realm of retail, such as Carto and Locate.ai. The data can help mall landlords in figuring out the tenant make-up of a property, if an owner should renew a store’s lease or if a retailer should open up a new outpost, as Commercial Observer reported. 

Placer.ai was founded in 2017 and spent a year-and-a-half in stealth mode (meaning they operated under the radar) before launching its product in October 2018. The startup is dual headquartered in Santa Cruz, California and Tel Aviv, and employs 80 people, up from 30 people a year ago. It received $4 million in seed funding in 2018, bringing the total raised to $16 million.