Making It Work: Online ad tech firm targets €2m funding to create global offices

Dublin-based marketing solutions company GladCloud, which counts Diageo among its clients, helps brands provide targeted local advertising

Keith Curley and Tony Burke, founders of GladCloud, plan to hire 90 new staff over the next two years. Picture: Fergal Phillips

GladCloud, a Dublin-based company which helps international firms streamline their advertising efforts online, is aiming to raise €2 million in the next year to fund the creation of ten offices around the world.

The business, founded in 2017 by Keith Curley and Tony Burke, plans to hire 90 new staff over the next two years after signing a global agreement with Diageo, the drinks giant, to provide localised advertising for its flagship brands.

GladCloud offers a new solution for companies, such as alcohol or cosmetics brands, which sell their products through a network of local merchants on the ground and want to improve how they market themselves online.

In the case of Diageo, which sells drinks in pubs and restaurants around the world, GladCloud’s all-in-one online dashboard makes it easier for all parties involved to deliver targeted advertising and gather better analytics on its performance.

“When we started the business, and started talking to big brands, we noticed that they were actually trying to do what we do, but they were doing it in a manual way,” Keith Curley, GladCloud’s co-founder, said.

“Guinness might send photos or brand imagery to a pub and ask them to put it on their Instagram, let’s say for the Six Nations. And if the pub got that image, and did put it up, the Guinness brand team would have no knowledge of what reach that achieved.”

For Curley and Burke, both experienced social media marketing operatives, the gap in the market was obvious, and they set about connecting all stakeholders involved in localised advertising agreements.

Now, four years after its foundation, the company works with alcohol brands around Europe on localised, targeted marketing in particular locations. The location-based approach is far cheaper for Diageo than running ads from its own social media pages, and allows it to tailor its message.

“To reach the same amount of people, it costs four times more if a brand is publishing an ad nationally compared to a local business publishing an ad hyper-locally,” Curley said.

“That’s what the brand has taken advantage of with us. Instead of doing a national campaign, they can achieve the same reach by running the same campaign across 500 pubs for a quarter of the cost.”

For merchants such as pubs, the advantage of Gladcloud is that it allows them to run all their social media advertising in the one place and gathers analytics which they can then present to the global brand. The dashboard also gathers data on customer reviews from TripAdvisor, Google and Facebook, giving them a clearer picture of how they’re performing.

Currently, GladCloud, an Enterprise Ireland-backed company, works primarily with alcohol brands. But it is also rolling out a pilot with a leading cosmetics company which sells its products in local, independently-owned stores, and is in talks with food delivery services and pet food brands.

With a funding round in the pipeline, Gladcloud is unashamedly targeting global growth, Curley said. “We’re launching in Australia with Diageo, we’re launching in Brazil, we’re launching in the US. We need about ten offices around the world.”