Nigeria’s Playspread helps businesses optimise their marketing spend

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Nigerian ad-tracking startup Playspread is looking for US$500,000 in funding as it looks to expand its operations to Kenya and South Africa by the end of the year.

Founded in 2014 by Segun Jerome, Playspread helps businesses optimise their advertising spending by tracking TV, radio and social media signals to help artists, brands, advertisers and other industry users make better decisions.

The startup’s technology fingerprints every piece of audio content it intends to track and stores it in a database. It then captures radio and TV transmissions and runs it across this database for matches.

“It is like extracting the DNA of every piece of content in order to recognise it when seen later,” Jerome told Disrupt Africa.

Based in Lagos, Playspread’s primary market is Nigeria, but it also has clients in South Africa and Kenya. The startup is planning physical expansion to these secondary markets, and seeking US$500,000 in funding to help it grow its team and product.

Playspread has 12 enterprise customers, as well as agreements with the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the Copyright Society of Nigeria, and Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA). Through the partnership with the Copyright Society alone, Playspread’s technology serves 3,000 music artists.

“With our pre-seed we already built products that have market fit,” Jerome said.

“We are presently in the process of fundraising to expand our infrastructure, hire more staff and complete our products in specialised areas of content recognition and processing, and data analysis.”

Jerome said Playspread is tackling a serious problem for businesses, especially when it comes to more traditional advertising, where around half of total spend is untracked and lost due to ineffective monitoring. This poor monitoring is generally caused by a lack of data and the fact media stations do not stick to advertising schedules. Playspread helps with all that.

“We automate the tracking process by using fingerprinting technology, and provide rich data analytics to help media planning, buying and measurement,” Jerome said.

“We make these available to advertisers via dashboards, API integration and on-premise real time monitoring panels.”

Subscriptions to Playspread are annual or quarterly, with revenue approaching US$120,000 and likely to reach US$250,000 by the middle of next year.

Formerly a banker, Jerome also used to run a music marketing business in his spare time. Here he observed the problems musicians had in measuring how they fared on traditional media.

“On further investigation I discovered the problem also ran deep in the advertising industry as there was less than adequate reporting and intelligence to help guide advert spend decisions,” he said.

“My research led to me to build a team and process to develop the technology to address this problem. A fingerprinting technology was developed and we opened for business.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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