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Placecast raises $3M in Series B to advance LBS service for retailers

Current investors include Quatrex Capital, ONSET Ventures and Voyager Capital. Major brands such as the The North Face, Sonic Drive-in and American Eagle have already begun running location-triggered mobile messaging programs on the ShopAlerts service. 

“Placecast is seeing strong interest and momentum from large retailers since the launch of its ShopAlerts location-based mobile marketing product,” said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast. “Strong consumer research results from trial programs in the fall with Sonic, American Eagle and REI, combined with new retailers coming on board, has confirmed the potential of the ShopAlerts solution.”

ShopAlerts delivers location-triggered mobile messages when consumers enter geo-fences , which can be created around any physical location.

With substantial interest from retailers and large companies in the carrier, handset and digital media industries, Placecast will use the funding to continue to rollout its service to a larger network of retailers. 

Placecast’s ShopAlerts service has transformed the retail industry already within the first few months of its launch.

ShopAlerts took home the top prize given out by the National Retail Federation known as the 2010 RACIE Award as well as finalist distinctions for best mobile marketing technology by top global and U.S. wireless organizations such as the GSMA and CTIA E-Tech Awards.

The $3 million adds to Placecast’s Series B round of funding of $5 million raised in November of 2009 making the total round $8 million. 

Retailers leverage the technology to create their own version of the service; consumers choose the brands they love, and may opt-in through many ways – in store, online, via text-message, mobile Web site, or social network (like Facebook).

Once ShopAlerts is activated, consumers go about their day and the service automatically alerts them when they are near a location that they are interested in or when the brand is offering sales and specials.

Unlike many new mobile advertising innovations available only as applications on smartphones, ShopAlerts works on any phone, which is a benefit for retailers who wish to reach the 196 million Americans who do not own smartphones but are interested in such shopping deals.

ShopAlerts geo-fences are virtual boundaries that can be targeted via location-based marketing.

Using geo-fencing technology, the service enables retailers to talk to their customers when they are near a store, shopping nearby, or doing other things they enjoy.

Geo-fences can be created around any location and are set to trigger a personalized marketing message to opted-in consumers entering the defined area on their mobile phones.

Customized messages are created and delivered automatically to shoppers creating a trusted, one-to-one communication channel based on place and time.

According to a recent report commissioned by Juniper Research, the mobile location-based services market will be worth more than $12 billion by 2014.

In addition, the mobile marketing and retail strategies report predicts advertising will take an increasing share of location-based revenues in the next five years.

“The funding will be used to support scaling sales and marketing activities for ShopAlerts as well as extending the way ShopAlerts can be deployed to licensing customers as well as direct sales to retailers,” Mr. Goodman said.

Placecast has built a carrier-grade solution with scalable technology that can handle large programs for retailers and carriers,” he said. “The funding will give Placecast the means to support a growing number of retail customers – from sales and account management to marketing activities.”