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Data firm InfoSum raises $15 million, adds former AT&T leader as executive chairman

(Reuters) - Data platform company InfoSum announced on Tuesday it has raised $15.1 million in its Series A funding round, and that Brian Lesser, former chief executive of AT&T Inc's T.N advertising unit Xandr, has been named executive chairman.

InfoSum, based in the UK, provides technology that allows advertisers, ad agencies and media companies to work together on advertising campaigns without needing to share sensitive consumer data.

The new funding comes at a time when concerns about the use of data are widespread and laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act have been passed to protect data privacy.

Advertisers, which buy ad space, and media companies, sellers of ad space, have traditionally had to send their data to a third party, which would analyze and return the results. Advertisers could then see if potential buyers of their product were audiences of that media company, Nick Halstead, chief executive and founder of InfoSum, said in an interview.

But transferring data to a third party is an “archaic” system “fraught with issues from a compliance standpoint,” Lesser said in an interview.

Lesser previously oversaw Xandr, which was built to help advertisers better target consumers using AT&T phone, internet and TV data, before stepping down in March. He joined InfoSum’s board in April.

If both the advertiser and media company use InfoSum, they can create a “bunker” within their data systems, and InfoSum’s technology would match the data without it ever leaving the owner’s control, Lesser said. That will help both brands and even traditional TV companies, which are increasingly making use of consumer data, he added.

“Brands show up to a transaction knowing precisely who they want to advertise to,” Lesser said.

The investment round was led by venture capital firms Upfront Ventures and IA Ventures. Xandr and UK media company ITV, both of which use InfoSum’s technology, are among the strategic partners.

Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Leslie Adler

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