DataSphere looks to democratize mobile advertising

Local tech startup DataSphere is making its name heard in a big way by offering coupons and deals for free to thousands of small businesses across the country.

Local tech startup DataSphere is making its name heard in a big way by offering coupons and deals for free to thousands of small businesses across the country.

The company, founded in 2006 as a real estate marketer by former Amazon and Microsoft employees, has to make a change during 2009 as the nationwide recession hit the economy hard.

Gary Cowan, senior vice president of the company, said the company looked at its assets and tried to adapt.

“We were working with real estate agents, who are small businesses in their own right,” he said. “We started reaching out to local businesses and expanded on that model.”

DataSphere offers mobile marketing to small businesses who normally would not be able to afford it.

This accessible business model has appealed to more than 20,000 companies nationally. Many of these have elected to work with DataSphere’s Local Saver, a website which offers coupons and deals to consumers tailored for their geographic location.

“We could take these businesses and expose them to the public,” Cowan said. “Most commerce is done locally. We pulled together local businesses to help them boost their revenue at an affordable rate.”

DataSphere can work with businesses with just a dollar a day in their marketing budget, getting them exposure locally that is typically reserved for massive corporations.

A beauty salon and pizza parlor have different advertising needs and are thus marketed differently. The salon could reach out in a 10-mile radius while a pizza place might stay within a mile. This way, each business gets the best yield of customers.

With 375 total employees, 275 of whom are in Bellevue, DataSphere hopes to provide a bit of a personal touch to every business looking to reach out on mobile and internet platforms.

Satbir Khanuja, president and CEO of DataSphere, said his company’s goal was to expand their services to every business who wanted to use them.

“Our mission is to truly democratize mobile marketing for small business,” he said. “The only way to do that is through continuous innovation. Our tactics will keep evolving to incorporate changing tools.”

Local Saver has expanded its offerings from 600,000 deals to more than three million in the year it has been operational. The application is available one Android and Apple products as well as online in a web browser.

A new program the company is excited to be implementing is Smart Layer. Cowan described Smart Layer as a multi-platform advertising service.

“Ad campaigns across all these platforms is very complex, it’s too much,” he said. “It used to be a simple prospect. We set up Smart Layer, it works across multiple ad networks and it takes advantage of the best kind of targeting. We can target certain kinds of consumers.”

This hyperlocal model toward advertising and marketing is one DataSphere hopes can be used to expand to every small business in the country looking to increase visibility to consumers.

“We can set it up to auto-create ads,” Cowan said of Smart Layer’s versatility. “It’s a turnkey situation that gives them access. One press of the play button and it’s off.”

Delane Hewett, DataSphere’s chief technology officer, has worked with some members of his team for decades, going back to his Microsoft days and developing MSN shopping. He said the talent he works with in development is phenomenal.

For the nearly 300 employees in Washington, they hope growth is ahead as DataSphere continues to innovate and respond to new technologies.

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