AT&T’s Xandr Stakes a Claim in Privacy Outfit InfoSum

AT&T’s ad-tech arm Xandr has taken a minority stake in InfoSum, a U.K.-headquartered startup looking to make waves in data onboarding and privacy—topics that are increasingly topping the list of concerns for marketers.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Lauren Wetzel, svp of strategy and corporate development at Xandr, said the move is a key part in its acceleration strategy following a year of investment, including its recent Clypd purchase.

Wetzel further described recent moves away from third-party cookies as a major cause of marketers intensifying their use of first-party data when it comes to media spend.

“We’ve been evaluating a number of strategic solutions, as we want to make sure that publishers we work with can monetize their inventory, and that advertisers can reach audiences that they care about, and this is what led us to make a minority investment in InfoSum,” she told Adweek.

Founded in 2015, and with a total of $8 million in funding, InfoSum will use its latest investment to accelerate its product rollout and grow its international presence, according to CEO Nicholas Halstead.

“The key to what we are doing is our data onboarding capabilities,” he said, further describing InfoSum as a “commercially safe clean room” that brands can use to make better use of their first-party data when it comes to media planning.

Wayne Blodwell, CEO of The Programmatic Advisory, told Adweek that competition in the data onboarding space is heating up alongside privacy concerns. “This is a new space of interest for investors, but it’s important to remember that Google will be involved, which will make it very competitive,” he said.

Privacy, and the changes it is bringing to the industry’s tech standards, were the key talking points at this year’s IAB Annual Leadership meeting, with the trade body proposing an industry collaboration to ad-targeting standards.

Discussing the concept at the time with Adweek, InfoSum’s Halstead proposed a federated approach to identity, whereby the industry’s various providers can effectively use a distributed model to provide the scale and anonymity the market (and regulators) are calling for.

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