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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Mike Sands, President and Chief Executive Officer of BrightTag, to announce the company’s largest investment round to date, a $27 million funding round led by Yahoo! JAPAN. This $27 million investment will allow the company to double its head count and bring over 100 additional high-paying technology jobs to the downtown area.
“We have put Chicago’s thriving technology economy on the global stage and our companies are conducting business around the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “BrightTag reflects Chicago’s rising technology economy, which continues to grow and evolve in unprecedented ways. Now is the time for us to ensure that Chicago’s tech economy is a strong, lasting pillar of our overall economy, by continuing to create jobs and new opportunities.”
In addition to the $27 million investment, Yahoo! Japan has signed a long-term commercial agreement with BrightTag that will expand the strategic partnership between the two companies. BrightTag will help Yahoo! JAPAN launch the first real-time, cross channel data management platform. The platform, powered by BrightTag’s newly patented Fuse technology, will help brand marketers leverage big data in their advertising campaigns.
“BrightTag is proud to be a part of Chicago’s dynamic tech community,” Sands said. “We applaud the Mayor’s efforts to make growth of the City’s digital economy a key priority by fostering an environment in which tech companies like ours can thrive.”
Yahoo! Japan is the world’s 10th largest Internet Company and Japan’s largest Internet company. The company is at the forefront of the rapidly-changing media landscape.
“We are extremely impressed with the work Chicago has done to grow a vibrant technology community,” said Osamu Aranami, Corporate Officer, Head of Marketing Solutions Company, Yahoo! JAPAN. “Our investment in Chicago company BrightTag was code-named ‘Project River North’ because we were inspired by the strong start-up scene in Chicago’s River North neighborhood and the hundreds of companies that make it their home.”
This announcement comes on the heels of Mayor Emanuel laying out his vision for Chicago’s tech sector. Last week, Mayor Emanuel announced his commitment to doubling Chicago’s tech economy in the next ten years, which will result in 40,000 additional jobs. The Mayor outlined the four strategies of fostering entrepreneurship, creating physical spaces, talent acquisition, and venture capital.
BrightTag’s $27 million funding round is an illustration of the focus on attracting venture capital, which was recently highlighted by a $45 million investment from the Pritzker Group Venture Capital into the Chicago-based SMS Assist LLC. Those two large investments come on the heels of a quarter in which Chicago companies raised $265 million in venture capital -- more than in any full year from 2001 to 2009.
"To solve a complex technology problem, the 10th largest internet company in the world, found its solution right here in Chicago. Yahoo! Japan's decision to power the core of its global data management platform with BrightTag is more evidence that Chicago is where the world discovers the best new technology companies." said J.B. Pritzker, Chairman of ChicagoNEXT, the city's tech economic development arm and managing partner of Pritzker Group Venture Capital.
The $27 million funding round increases BrightTag’s total funding to $50 million to date.
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About Yahoo! JAPAN
Yahoo! JAPAN, operated by Yahoo Japan Corporation, is a leading Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations in Japan. Yahoo! JAPAN seeks to provide online products and services essential to users’ lives, and offers a full range of tools and marketing solutions for businesses to connect with Internet users in Japan. Yahoo! JAPAN is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.
About BrightTag, Inc.
BrightTag is one of the world’s leading marketing technology platforms, powering more than 1,000 brands and agencies. BrightTag empowers its clients to collect, connect and act on cross-channel customer data in real time, from websites and beyond – including mobile, social, email, ads, point-of-sale, CRM, call center, kiosks and more. This enables brand marketers and agencies to deliver smarter, more relevant omni-channel marketing that improves engagement, conversion and loyalty. BrightTag’s patented, award-winning technology facilitates billions of requests around the globe, supporting top brands that generate more than $1.5 trillion in commerce, including Allstate, Crate & Barrel, DeVry University, GAP, JetBlue Airways, Macy’s, 1-800-Flowers, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and many more. For more information, visit www.BrightTag.com.