Austin-based Phunware raises $22 million Series F funding round
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Phunware has been an Inc. 5000 company since 2012. Photo Credit: Phunware

Phunware has been an Inc. 5000 company since 2012. Photo Credit: Phunware

Mobile enterprise services will expand rapidly by 2020, as digital ads outpace TV

Mobile as a Service (MaaS) developer Phunware has concluded a Series F funding round with $22 million in new financing, led by Malaysia’s state investment fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Wavemaker Partners, and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) Capital.

This brings the company’s total capital raised to date to $90 million. The funding will be used for “accelerating growth across the company’s multiscreen platform,” with a reach across 650 million users. Some of Phunware’s corporate partners include CISCO and major media networks like FOX NOW and the CW.

Location-enabled messaging services offer consumers reminders about appointments, directions to, from, and within destinations, promotions, and campaign engagement metrics. The company also co-developed the Undercover Tourist app, which was released in 2010 to help tourists navigate Walt Disney World in Florida, both on the ground and in terms of finding discounts and ticketing. Sporting events are also a major area of focus, with the company conducting a survey ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics to find that more and more, the audiences for these high-volume events are demanding greater mobile access viewing. Phunware earlier hit a mobile viewing record for the app it worked on during the 2014 Winter Olympics, with 4 million users tuning in on mobile to NBC Sports for a hockey match.

NASCAR and World Wrestling Entertainment are major clients for the Austin-based company. It has also expanded offerings to malls, airports, and hospitals.

The real-time Phunware Data service, launched earlier this year, aims to provide a full, comparable analytics experience for apps as with regular internet services on mobile devices. Administrators get access to location information, reviews from consumers, and other data packages through subscription services.

According to Chairman and CEO Alan S. Knitowski, “Our MaaS platform products and solutions currently power more than 40 billion mobile user events every month and more than 1 trillion transactions annually.” Phunware has expanded significantly since its 2009 founding, acquiring TapIt Media Group in 2013, giving it access to Disney among other clients, and several other mobile advertising and data services since then.

In fact, last month worldwide mobile and tablet usage exceeded desktop for the first time ever, driven by expansion in emerging markets. As StatCounter, which compiled the data, noted, “This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly.” The mobile engagement market is expected to grow to $32.4 billion by 2020, which is also Phunware’s target year for maximizing IoT integration with its platform.

As the company hopes to expand in Europe and Asia, the investment from Southeast Asia shows interest is present abroad.

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