AppsFlyer has raised a massive Series D of $210 million, led by General Atlantic.
Founded in 2011, the company is best known for mobile ad attribution — allowing advertisers to see which campaigns are driving results. At the same time, AppsFlyer has expanded into other areas, like fraud prevention.
And in the funding announcement, General Atlantic Manager Director Alex Crisses suggested that there's a broader opportunity here.
"Attribution is becoming the core of the marketing tech stack, and AppsFlyer has established itself as a leader in this fast-growing category," Crisses said. "AppsFlyer’s commitment to being independent, unbiased, and representing the marketer’s interests has garnered the trust of many of the world’s leading brands, and we see significant potential to capture additional opportunity in the market.”
Crisses and General Atlantic's co-president and global head of technology, Anton Levy, are both joining AppsFlyer's board of directors. Previous investors Qumra Capital, Goldman Sachs Growth, DTCP (Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners), Pitango Venture Capital and Magma Venture Partners also participated in the round, which brings the company's total funding to $294 million.
AppsFlyer said it works with more than 12,000 customers, including eBay, HBO, Tencent, NBC Universal, Minecraft, US Bank, Macy's and Nike. It also says it saw more than $150 million in annual recurring revenue in 2019, up 5x from its Series C in 2017.
Co-founder and CEO Oren Kaniel said that as attribution becomes more important, marketers need a partner they can trust. And with AppsFlyer driving $28 billion in ad spend last year, he argued, "There's a lot of trust there."
Kaniel added, "It doesn’t really matter how sophisticated your marketing stack is, or whether you have AI or machine learning — if the data feed is wrong ... everything else will be wrong. I think companies realize how sensitive and critical this data platform is for them. I think that in the past couple of years, they're investing more in selecting the right platform."
In order to ensure that trust, he said that AppsFlyer has avoided any conflicts of interest in its business model — a position that extends to fundraising, where Kaniel made sure not to raise money from any of the big players in digital advertising.
And moving forward, he said, "We will never go into media business, never go into media services. We want to maintain our independence, we want to maintain our previous unbiased positions."
Kaniel also argued that while he doesn't see regulations like Europe GDPR and California's CCPA hindering ad attribution directly, the regulatory environment has justified AppsFlyer's investment in privacy and security.
"Even more than just being in compliance, [with AppsFlyer], marketers all of a sudden have full control of their data," he said. "Let’s say on the web, probably your website is sending data and information to partners who don’t need to have access to this information. The reason is, there’s no logic, there's a lot of pixels going everywhere, the publishers don’t have control. If you use our platform, you have full control, you can configure the exact data points that you’d like to share."