PebblePost raises $15m funding

Targeted direct mail startup PebblePost has announced it has raised $15m in Series B funding, led by RRE Ventures with Greycroft Partners and Tribeca Ventures. In return RRE’s Jim Robinson is to join the PebblePost board.

PebblePost produces what it refers to as ‘programmatic direct mail’, a combination of direct algorithmic targeted online advertising and direct mail that should better target customers through postal operators’ direct mail networks. PebblePost sends customised follow-ups through the paper mail system based on their online activity. For example, should you be following a retailer’s website you could receive a postcard highlighting some of their products, and potentially offering discounts.

CEO Lewis Gersh specialises in targeted advertising, having previously founded Metamorphic Ventures (now, Compound) that invested in targeted online advertising ventures. In Gersh’s eyes, digital advertising has become ‘the new junk mail’ where marketers have had to get ever more aggressive to achieve the same click throughs.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Gersh said that one of the problems is that advertisements are shown when someone is “100 percent not disposed to action — and worse.” By comparison direct mail has a far higher response rate with people reading it when they have a set time.

When you look at a product or engage with a brand’s product, you’re starting a dialogue,” Gersh said. With PebblePost, the brand can “continue that dialogue back with the consumer.”

He added that printed mail also solves many of online advertising’s issues with viewability (“everyone has to check their mail”) and fraud (“bots don’t have mailboxes”).

The approach seems to be working, with an average of 7 to 10 percent of PebblePost mail resulting in a purchase. The company, which previously raised $8 million in funding, works with customers like Boxed, Saatchi Art and ModCloth.

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