Deutsche Post-backed Nugg.ad reveals new big data business incubator in Berlin

Stephen Noller
Stephen Noller

Deutsche Post’s targeted advertising platform Nugg.ad, which counts the likes of Axel Springer, Microsoft and eBay among clients, wants to encourage innovation in the data sector and is setting up a new business incubation programme to do it.

The catch: whatever your idea is, it’ll need to make use of Nugg.ad‘s data ecosystem (in other words, the use of statistical, anonymised user profiles to better target advertising to consumers). Selected participants will get financing and access to Nugg.ad’s infrastructure and expertise. If you’re interested, you’ll need to apply before 31 August 2012. Winners will be selected at the Data Days conference (October 1-2) in Berlin.

Stephen Noller

Nugg.ad: from Samwer-backed startup to €50 million exit

Frank Wagner, Stephan Noller (pictured) and Klaus Kögler started up Nugg.ad in Berlin in 2006 and attracted investors including BMP Media Ventures, the IBB and the Samwer brothers (now running Rocket Internet) via the European Founders Fund. Four years later, Deutsche Post acquired the company for €50 million as part of a push into the online advertising space. Nugg.ad is still based in Berlin with offices in seven other European cities, including London, Paris and Warsaw. Noller and Kögler remain on the key exec team, as CEO and CFO respectively.

Nugg.ad uses a mix of web cookies and online surveys to predict consumer behaviour and dodges privacy issues by not collecting data that can be linked to identifiable users (we also like the opt-out cookie option on their homepage). The platform doesn’t record visitors’ name, postal address, email or IP address or the specific URL addresses of other sites they visit. Instead, web cookies count the number of visits to other websites by various subject areas. That data is combined back with survey results on socio demographics, product interests and lifestyle to give results that seem pretty effective.

McKinsey @ LeWeb London 2012 McKinsey partners’ reckon big data is only going to get bigger (LeWeb London 2012)

Boom in “big data” ahead

Today’s announcement by Nugg.ad fits in the middle of three trends: big corporate support for startups, targeted advertising and big data. The latter isn’t a hit topic with everyone (judging by the Twitter flames – “boring”, “no ideas” – following the McKinsey partners’ presentation at LeWeb London) but can’t be ignored. As the web becomes an increasingly large part of consumers’ lives, knowing who’s reading and shopping will make all the difference.

Likewise, a specialist incubation programme backed by a big corporate won’t appeal to all founders. But having more of them around has to be a good sign… who’s up next?

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