Phonotive raises 400K€ for Touchalize, interactive ads for mobile.


After we profiled their flagship product Touchalize for the 2012 LeWeb Paris Startup Competition, Phonotive has announced a seed round of 400K€, invested by DP Invest (the investment arm of the Midi-Pyrhennes region) and Capitole Angels, a business angel network in the region. Though they weren’t among the 3 French startups who made it to the main stage for the competition, it’s pretty well known that acceptance into LeWeb’s startup competition is tantamount to raising a round of capital, and it seems the seed investors of the Midi-Pyrhenes region agreed.

Touchalize is looking to bring touch to mobile advertising, which has had a disappointing start, especially in the pre-roll/post-roll video world.

As described by Natasha Tomas on TechCrunch, Touchalize sees potential in other markets – eCommerce, online learning, the music industry – however given the opportunity to use this technology to increase engagement by viewers, they will definitely be targeting the ad space first.

I’ve seen a few startups like this come through in the past few months – “hypermedia” they call themselves. Almost every time it is a technology that comes first, and the idea to target the digital ad space which comes after. Having no experience in this space, I have to wonder if “lack of interaction between the audience and the advertisers/brand” is really the problem that digital advertisers are having, and whether this is a solution to a problem, or a solution looking for a problem to solve.