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How AdNear Does Location-Based Advertising Differently

Willis Wee
Willis Wee
10:08 am on Jul 30, 2013


Founded in 2008 by serial entrepreneur Anil Mathews, AdNear is a location-based advertising network that’s approaching the game differently. While most location-based ad networks use GPS or operator data, Anil wanted to make AdNear different. His approach is to rely on mobile towers and Wi-Fi signals. Mathews said:

AdNear has invested in mapping cell tower signals and wifi signals in every population centre in South Asia by literally driving around and collecting footprints.


Founder & CEO, Anil Mathews

Today, the company has operations and datasets in Singapore, India, Australia, and other Southeast Asian countries. Collecting all that info might sound like insanely hard work but the rewards have proved to be great.

By collecting signal footprints, AdNear can target users across all platforms without relying on GPS capabilities and with a high level of granularity. He added:

We use this location data to understand a user’s history – where he is spending most of his time and what he’s doing at different times of the day and different days of the week. This helps us understand whether he’s a traveler or a student etc. This level of data analysis enables us to provide the most evolved form of targeting to marketers.

And indeed, marketers are impressed. AdNear reaches over 50 million unique users every month across India, Southeast Asia and Australia and is working with some of the largest brands in the world. AdNear’s innovative approach has also earned it $6.5 million in investments from Canaan Partners and Sequoia Capital late last year.

It hasn’t at all been easy collecting data. AdNear took three long years to build. But Mathews felt that time was needed to ensure that AdNear was building a future-ready solution and not another location-based ad network that relied on GPS and telco data.

“It was very important for us as a company to ensure our offering was future-ready so that when we launch it is still the most relevant form of reaching the audience,” he said.

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Have Your Say
  • Zhang Hong

    Cool, sounds like Google map cars. I still don’t get how people can do that. It feels expensive to collect signals this way

  • Yap

    Any picture of the car and how they actually collect data? ;) i’m also not sure if it’s legal.

  • OMG

    curious about how they get access to collect “footprints”, 1. negotiate with telecom companies or 2. distribute the car wandering in on the street everyday?