Qloo Raises $25M for Ad-Targeting Using AI Taste Predictions

New York-based Qloo has raised $25 million to fund an artificial intelligence-powered analytics engine. Drawing on consumer behavioral data from around the globe, Qloo uses proprietary algorithms to filter through more than half a billion attributes, including brands, music, film, TV, podcasts, dining, travel and more. Qloo’s AI models “are capable of identifying trillions of connections between these entities,” the company says, listing Netflix, Michelin and Samsung among those already using the service to find connections between customers who frequent Starbucks and the kind of movies they like.

“Consider, for example, that people who like horror movies might be inclined to try certain exotic cuisines, while people who prefer sitcoms might listen to a lot of true crime podcasts,” TechCrunch writes, adding that Qloo aims “to uncover consumer behaviors and trends across entertainment, fashion, travel, sports, food and other segments.”

“Qloo offers turn-key AI supported by billions of anonymized taste signals and a rich proprietary cultural database developed over nearly a decade,” according to the company website.

Qloo does all of this “without the use of any personally identifiable information,” driving customer engagement while remaining compliant with international digital privacy requirements, according to a news release.

The company was co-founded by CEO Alex Elias and COO Jay Alger in 2012. Alger’s background includes a stint as CEO of the Australian brand agency Deepend. Elias says he studied philosophy and finance at the London School of Economics, has a JD from NYU Law School and a BA from USC. He founded Qloo after perceiving a gap in information about overlapping interests.

“As a passionate advocate for culture … I saw the fragmented world of taste knowledge,” he told TechCrunch, adding that he “noticed that while companies like Spotify, Expedia and Netflix dominated their respective sectors creating data silos, there was a lack of a unified system capable of understanding and predicting diverse personal tastes across different domains without relying on identity-based data.”

Qloo’s models can help “generate detailed insights into their audiences and match advertisers with the most relevant audience segment,” aiding conversion rates, according to SiliconANGLE, which says Qloo AI can “predict peak interest times for various topics,” something that can be used to “strategically time when ads are shown.”

AI Ventures led the funding round, with participation from AXA Venture Partners, Eldridge and Moderne Ventures. The cash will allow Qloo to to develop a self-service interface for small and mid-sized enterprises and individuals it plans to release later this year.

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