Predictive intelligence marketing tech Prophet raises $5m in seed round backed by Catalano

Predictive intelligence marketing tech Prophet raises $5m in seed round backed by Catalano

Photo (L-R): Two of Prophet's co-founders, executive chairman Sean Taylor and CEO Jordan Taylor-Bartels, with CCO Paul Veltman.

In a move resembling the transformation of the investment world in the 1980s as funds hired quants in droves to take advantage of computer algorithms and advanced mathematics, a Melbourne-based marketing-tech startup has raised funds to make an impact in one of the most competitive and challenging markets of the modern era - the market for attention.

After three years of building its predictive intelligence platform in stealth, aimed at solving the "$1 trillion pit" globally in marketing and advertising budgets created by Google’s phasing out of cookies combined with data blind spots, Prophet has officially launched in Australia with a $5 million seed raise.

The confidently named company includes an investor roster of industry professionals, seasoned entrepreneurs, and elite athletes, with backers including media mogul Antony Catalano, Seek (ASX: SEK) co-founder Matt Rockman, and former Dentsu CEO Cheuk Chiang.

Prophet’s predictive intelligence platform enables organisations to quantify the historical return on investment of their entire online and offline marketing mix, while also predicting future outcomes against a library of thousands of data points.

The startup claims this can save a business anywhere between 10 and 50 per cent of marketing spend, signalling the first time organisations can run complex mathematical modelling in near-real-time, ensuring that what happened yesterday can be actioned today.

Co-founder and CEO Jordan Taylor-Bartels says while every business leader wants to make marketing budgets more efficient, the ability to do so with existing tech will only continue to rapidly decline.

"If your marketing team is handling large amounts of budget, you can no longer afford for them to be making significant spending decisions based on data that is, best case, three months old when they receive it," says Taylor-Bartels, a former global marketing lead at Hyperloop, a futuristic startup that aimed to revolutionise transport with pods travelling at high speeds in tubes, but ultimately collapsed in late 2023.

"We’ve packaged the world's most sophisticated mathematics and data analysis into a living, breathing platform that any brand decision-maker can use to optimise every brand dollar, without having to be tech-savvy.

"Our testing to date has demonstrated Prophet can save businesses anywhere from 10 to 50 per cent on marketing and ad spend by accurately demonstrating what’s working, and where budgets should be diverted for maximum impact. There’s clearly an appetite for this breakthrough, too; raising $5 million for a new platform in this market is hard at the best of times, and we’ve managed to achieve that pre-revenue."

Established marketing platforms are set to be left in the dark as internet giants flick the switch off on third-party cookies by year’s end, representing a "cataclysmic shift in organisational measurement".

"Consumer sentiment and spending power is low, inflation is high, and Google’s 2024 sunsetting of third-party cookies has made it much harder to measure return on investment," Taylor-Bartels explains.

"Meanwhile, marketers are using market-mix-modelling tech based on the same mathematical models used to predict the weather. Prophet gives them the ability to unearth subtle trends that previously would have been missed."

Other Prophet founders include former Ogilvy and VMLY&R Commerce CEO Sean Taylor, mathematician Patrick Robotham, statistician John Strumila and full-stack developer Clyde So. The company’s development also team touts A-list talent from organisations including NASA, SpaceX, Linktree, WPP, Dentsu and Deloitte.

"Having been in the advertising and media world for more than 30 years, I’ve never seen a tool that has the ability to allow clients to make better decisions on the media spend with such clarity, so simply," says Prophet co-founder and executive chairman Sean Taylor.

"The three years of development, with incredibly intelligent people, has been an extraordinary journey. We can’t wait to bring this to market."

Catalano, executive chair of View Media Group and former CEO of Domain (ASX: DHG), is excited by such a new innovation.

"I've seen a number of tech innovations over the past two decades and our operations through our own national media group demonstrates more than ever the importance of media, marketing and organisational accountability and measurement," he says.

"Prophet is on a whole new level. It isn't just a game changer, it is a whole new game."

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