Brandtone, the leading mobile marketing company in developing and emerging markets, has closed its third round of funding with an investment of €14 million, including €4m from Syngenta Ventures and further investment from Unilever Ventures and Verlinvest.
Thanks to the deal, the Dublin-based micro-multinational, which has expanded from one fast-growing market into ten in just three years, will further extend its global reach, opening offices in New York and Jakarta early this year.
Brandtone will use this funding to establish and grow its operations in the ten fastest growing markets, which will account for 75% of client revenue by the end of the decade. It is also set to make a major investment in its products and services to address increasing smartphone penetration, and the growth of financial and health services in these markets.
The investment by the venture capital arm of Syngenta is part of a strategic move by the company to engage in more innovative ways with farmers in China, India, South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Syngenta will commence work with Brandtone in 2014 to engage smallholders, taking advantage of mobile as the only universal media channel to encourage more effective and safer use of its products.
Unilever, which has invested in Brandtone since its inception, has committed further investment through its investment arm Unilever Ventures. The investment is to support international expansion of the company’s offerings and facilitate the development of the company’s products in direct consumer marketing, media delivery and Smartphone integration. Unilever has already signed a separate commercial deal with Brandtone to expand the partnership into a number of new markets including China, India, Indonesia and the US.
Family owned investment company Verlinvest has also contributed significantly to the funding round, reflecting an increasing emphasis on digital branding within its portfolio. Both Verlinvest and Unilever will continue to be represented on the Brandtone board along with representatives from Syngenta Ventures.
Robert Berendes, Syngenta’s Global Head of Business Development, said: “Brandtone’s unique mobile solutions will help Syngenta meet the ambitious commitments outlined in our Good Growth Plan. This includes reaching 20 million smallholder farmers to help them increase their farming productivity by 50% without further depleting scarce land, water and energy resources.”
Donald Fitzmaurice, Founder and CEO, Brandtone, said: “Brandtone’s success to date has been underpinned by committed support from Unilever and Verlinvest, and we are delighted to welcome Syngenta on board. Mobile offers a way for our clients to engage responsibly and sustainably with consumers in the fastest growing markets and, together with Syngenta, we are excited about exploring the possibilities this offers in the agricultural sector.”
John Coombs, Chairman of Brandtone and Managing Director of Unilever Ventures, said: “When we first invested in Brandtone three years ago, the full potential of mobile in developing and emerging markets was only just being recognized. Now it is the vehicle for some of the most innovative marketing anywhere in the world. We are pleased to continue our support for Brandtone as it moves into this exciting new phase of its development.”
For more information please visit: http://www.brandtone.com | @Brandtone
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