Lunio raises $15 million to fight click fraud with algorithms • TechCrunch

The digital ad market is robust, with Statista to predict this global spending will reach nearly $900 billion by 2026. But fake and fraudulent ad traffic remains a major problem in the space. Global ad fraud losses totaled $35 billion in 2020 alone. And beyond wasteful spending, invalid traffic can inflate metrics, leading brands to misidentify and misunderstand customer segments.

To combat ad fraud, Neil Andrew, Segev Hochberg and Alex Winston co-founded Lunio, which attempts to exclude fake web traffic from different channels by analyzing behavior patterns. The startup announced today that it has closed a $15 million Series A round led by Smedvig Capital, bringing Lunio’s total raised to approximately $17 million.

“Back in 2016, we were running a digital marketing agency in the UK and working closely with one of their best clients, Segev Hochberg,” Andrew told TechCrunch in an email interview. “During this time, they kept noticing the same problem. Worthless clicks from fake users were eating away at Segev’s marketing budget every month. And ad networks weren’t really rushing to tackle the problem because they had no real incentive to do so. So Neil, Segev, and I founded Lunio to help other marketers detect and block clicks from bad sources, while automatically reinvesting the money saved into top-performing ad campaigns. »

Lunio claims to use a combination of data analytics and cybersecurity techniques to detect and block fake clicks, with algorithms that run client-side – in a user’s browser – to ensure that personally identifiable information are not sent to the web. (While IP addresses from advertising interactions are stored and provided to users, they are not associated with any other information that could make them personally identifiable, Andrew claims.) The algorithms attempt to predict the likelihood of invalid click activity on a range of advertising networks, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram and even TikTok.

Lunio

Picture credits: Lunio

While Lunio is far from the leading provider of first-click fraud prevention technologies – others include CHEQ and Human Security – Andrew says his platform has key technical advantages. For example, Lunio’s algorithms leverage WebAssembly, the internet standard designed to enable near-native in-browser code execution speed, which Andrew says is up to seven times faster than traditional JavaScript, the programming language many vendors use to analyze ad traffic.

“There is a huge opportunity cost to having distracted sales processes downstream due to fake lead form submissions that follow fake clicks. don’t actually exist,” Andrew said.It’s not just about getting a refund on unwanted clicks, if you can. This is to stop all the ripple effects of fake traffic on your website.

Andrew says the pandemic has been a boon for Lunio as it has led to increased fake user activity as brands and their customers move online. Meanwhile, the economic downturn has increased pressure on companies to stretch their ad dollars, Andrew says, resulting in another boon for the startup.

Lunio has over 1,000 customers spanning over 10,000 individual ad accounts, Andrew claims. He opted not to share revenue figures, saying only that Lunio plans to increase the headcount from 43 employees to around 55 by the end of the first quarter of 2023 to “accelerate” its go-to-market efforts. in Europe and North America.

“We feel very isolated from the forward-looking challenges that many companies will face. We have implemented strong operational and investment discipline based on validated business cases to guide our future direction,” continued Andrew. “We operate on a best-in-class combustion multiple and expect this to continue in relative terms as we grow the business.”

Sharon D. Cole