The size of the deal is close to the amount the startup had raised since its inception – and most of the employees have been let go
For Israeli startup Pursway (formerly known as Datanetis), there were great ambitions, proven technology and satisfied customers. Sadly, this didn’t prevent a final sellout to American ad titan IPG that will see 15 of its 25 workers lose their jobs and the remainder absorbed into the conglomerate’s local affiliates, Reuveni-Frieden and McCann Tel Aviv, according to Hebrew publication Calcalist.
Pursway’s tech was based on data mining and contact details from its clientele’s customers’ friends and connections. A consumer electronics company, for example, would supply Pursway with a list of its customers and receive in return a list of further-degree connections. According to Pursway, that strategy quintupled a client’s ROI. Pursway’s tech would use information gathered from sources like Facebook profiles and even adult sites – anywhere information might be public.
Pursway used machine learning to harvest relevant information and send it to its clients, without sifting through the information to inform them on the nature of the connections and how they might be tied to standing customers. Among its major clients included cable giant Comcast, Orange, Vodaphone and Sony (which is already a client of IPG).
Pursway was founded in 2005 by Elery Pfeffer, CCO (Chief Client Officer) Ran Shaul, and CTO Guy Gildor. The company has raised about $19 million from investors like Globespan Capital, Battery Ventures, and Amiti Ventures since its founding. The company dropped its original name and rebranded in 2009, adding David Ellenberger as CEO in 2013. The company had been dogged by growing competition and negative market trends such as the decline of banners, among other challenges.
The company will be integrated into the MediaBrand arm of IPG while 15 staff from the former development, administrative, marketing, and sales departments will be let go. IPG is considered among the top four global holding companies in advertising alongside Omnicom, WPP, and Publicis.