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The App Install Ad Boom Helps Tune Raise $27 Million

Developers are plowing money into ads that are supposed to get their apps on your phone. Tune helps them figure out which ads work.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

A few years ago, the app-install ad business — fueled by developers who want to distribute their stuff across a universe of smartphones — didn’t really exist.

Now it’s one of the big reasons Facebook has a giant mobile ad business. And Yahoo, Google and Twitter want in on it, too.

And, not surprisingly, that has created a boomlet for startups that serve the industry. Today’s example is Tune, which describes itself as an “enterprise platform for mobile marketing” but has been largely fueled by the app ad business.

The Seattle-based company, which previously raised $9.3 million in 2013, when it was known as HasOffers, has added another $27 million in funding. Icon Ventures led the round and was joined by fellow first-time investor Performance Equity Management; Accel Partners, which was already backing the company, has re-upped.

Tune doesn’t sell app install ads or app “re-engagement” ads, which are meant to drive users back to apps they already have on their phones. Instead it provides reporting and analytics that help marketers and developers figure out which ads are working.

CEO Peter Hamilton, who works with brothers/co-founders Lucas and Lee Brown, says his company is branching out beyond the ad business so that can marketers can also track “organic” distribution. He won’t put it this way, but if the app install boom turns out to be bubbly — say, because much of it is paid for by venture-backed startups — he’s also trying to diversify his business.

Hamilton says the company has 250 employees worldwide, and that the bulk of the new money will go into product and tech, while some might go to M&A. A “very marginal amount” of the round will go to some early employees, Hamilton says.

And here’s your reward for reading to the end of a funding story: Now you can tell people that you’ve heard of an ad tech CEO who’s also a professional opera singer! Hamilton is a baritone who studied music at the University of Texas, where he also got into the SEO business. His LinkedIn lists a two-year stint at the Seattle Opera.

This article originally appeared on

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