Sensewhere nets funding from Chinese giant Tencent

AN EDINBURGH University spin-out that helps firms target shoppers with “location-based” advertising has secured a cash injection from Tencent, the Chinese internet services group.

Rob Palfreyman says he is thrilled with the investment. Picture: Contributed
Rob Palfreyman says he is thrilled with the investment. Picture: Contributed

Sensewhere said the “strategic” investment, for an undisclosed sum, will help fuel its expansion by developing partnerships in China’s mobile internet market.

The company’s technology uses existing wireless hotspots, without the need for additional hardware, to narrow down a consumer’s location to within ten metres so companies can send vouchers and offers straight to their smartphone.

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Unveiling the deal, chief executive Rob Palfreyman said: “This investment by Tencent will be significant for the company and is an endorsement of our technology, strategy and ability to deliver low-cost, highly scalable and highly accurate universal indoor positioning.

“I am thrilled with the collaboration, and having Tencent as a strategic investor will help take Sensewhere to the next level and assist us growing our customer base, building new location-based services and investing further in research and development.”

Tencent, founded in 1998 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, claims to be China’s largest internet service platform. As well as multiplayer online games, it runs instant messaging services and news portals.

Julian Ma, corporate vice-president of its mobile internet group, said: “We believe that a superior, universal indoor positioning technology will deeply influence how people interact with each other, and significantly change how companies communicate with consumers and conduct commerce indoor across online and offline platforms.

“Sensewhere’s unique, highly scalable approach will greatly enhance Tencent Map’s indoor positioning capabilities and enable our users to navigate indoor in a much more accurate and convenient manner.” 

Sensewhere, founded in 2005 and based in the southside of Edinburgh, emerged a result of technology developed by a team of university researchers.