Fierce 15 2016: Shine Technologies enables carriers to strip out mobile ads

Editor's note: Welcome to the 2016 Fierce 15, an annual list that recognizes 15 of the most interesting startups in the wireless industry. We'll publish one profile a day for 15 days; Shine Technologies is the eleventh company to be recognized this year.

Company: Shine Technologies
Where it's based: Israel, with operations in the United States
When it was founded:  2011
Website: getshine.com

Why it's Fierce: Shine is selling technology to wireless carriers that would allow them to strip out ads from their customers’ web browsing. The result, explained Shine’s Roi Carthy, would be happier wireless users (because they wouldn’t have to deal with intrusive ads) and happier wireless network operators (because they could reduce the amount of ad-generated data traffic on their networks).

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“We believe we have the opportunity to create a better advertising experience for consumers,” said Carthy, Shine’s chief marketing officer. “For carriers … there’s the consumer champion angle. If they can bring a service that can help protect consumers, or helps consumers protect themselves … they believe it’s very impactful on their brand recognition.”

Moreover, “if you can save some money on your opex, even like a single point, it’s massive. It’s an extremely material savings for you,” Carthy explained, noting that advertising can take up 20-40 percent of a network’s bandwidth. “You’d be crazy not to consider it. … These are saving that no box from Ericsson and Cisco can get you.”

Shine and its 40-person staff hopes to make money by selling its technology to wireless carriers, which would then allow their customers to opt-in to an advertising experience curated by Shine. Advertisers would also pay the company for access to participating end users.

“What we’re doing is we’re coming in to a huge, massive problem, which is this incredibly sophisticated surveillance economy. The smartest people in the world are developing these things – at Google, at Facebook, at Yahoo, at all these ad-tech companies – and they’ve created a monster,” Carthy noted. “And now, we’re coming in and giving the power back to consumers to be able to consume advertising in a non-abusive way. And then we’re allowing advertisers and publishers to be able to present that advertising. But to do so, we need to be able to put a lot of effort into determining who is a bad actor and who isn’t. And that type of stuff requires money. Meaning, we’re creating sophisticated technologies that are able to do that. But it requires hardware on the network – it’s network-level stuff.”

Added Carthy: “If an advertiser wants to reach a consumer who wants limited forms of advertising, then they’re going to have to come through the system. We’re going to have to do a bunch of verification, and then let it through based on whether it’s good, bad or so forth,” he said. “Everybody gets to opt in. If the consumer doesn’t want this better ad experience, no problem at all. If you didn’t sign up for it, you don’t get it, that’s perfectly fine. If you did, we’re guaranteeing you a certain ad experience.”

Shine raised $3.3 million in its Series A round in 2012; Carthy said the company has raised more since then but hasn’t disclosed details.

What's next: Shine currently counts three wireless carriers as customers, including Three in Europe. The company is hoping to receive additional clarity this year from the Federal Trade Commission this year on its approach to the ad market, which Carthy said would pave the way for sales to carriers in the United States. Already in February Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure revealed he planned to meet with Shine at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain.

Read more: FierceWireless's Fierce 15 2016

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