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Brands are cutting out agencies, and startup Knotch has raised $20 million in Series B funding to capitalize on the trend

Anda knotch

  • Four-year-old data company Knotch has raised $20 million in Series B funding, which it will use to accelerate its move into helping marketers understand their campaign data.
  • Knotch helps advertisers compare the effectiveness of their branded content but is increasingly tracking web, email and social data.
  • The firm sees a growing business from brands taking their data and creative teams in-house in light of regulation and privacy concerns.

Marketers continue to seek more tools to evaluate the performance of their digital advertising and Branded content.

And venture capital money appears to be following. Marketing-tech company Knotch has raised $20 million in Series B Funding to accelerate its move into tools that help Brands analyze their content. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and also included previous investors. With the funding news, NEA venture partner Hilarie Koplow-McAdams and former GroupM exec Rob Norman are joining Knotch's board. Knotch has raised $34 million to date and has 35 employees.

The New York-based firm provides software that helps brands measure their branded content campaigns wherever it's distributed, whether it be on publishers' sites or through email, social media or their own sites. Knotch's customers include JPMorgan Chase, AT&T, Ford and Calvin Klein.

Branded content is losing some of its novelty

The business is being driven by a couple of trends. The buzz around so-called native advertising that mimics editorial content has died down as brands demand proof that these ads actually drive results. Some brands are repurposing publisher-created branded content on their own channels to get more out of what are often expensive ad buys.

Read more: 'In the next 12 months, you're going to see a massive amount of consolidation': Web publishers are overhauling their branded content divisions to keep ad budgets flowing

Knotch plans to use its funding to build products to evaluate all the associated data in one place, said Anda Gansca, Knotch's CEO and founder. The firm also plans to staff up its West Coast office and expand into the UK.

The goal is to let a CMO see how all their digital content performs, whether it's paid, owned or earned, she said. "There's been this massive wall between the way data is collected on the owned versus the paid [side and] there hasn't been a standard across the board."

An increasing number of brands are taking their advertising and marketing in-house. In fact, half of Knotch's business deals with marketers' own content.

Regulations like the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and California's upcoming privacy law also have brands leaning more on their own first-party data.

"There's an overall realization that it's not just good for marketing to bring data in house, but it's good for business because the more first-party data you can aggregate as a brand, the better positioned you're going to be as you're thinking about more relevant personalized products," she said. "There's more emphasis on bringing consumers back to your owned-and-operated properties, which then means that you just have a lot more control over the delivery of the experience and the data collection itself."

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Brands are cutting out agencies, and startup Knotch has raised $20 million in Series B funding to capitalize on the trend


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