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Adjust acquires bot detection specialist Unbotify

David Murphy
Adjust CEO Christian Henschel

Adjust, which specialises in mobile measurement and fraud prevention, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the cyber security and AI start-up Unbotify. The Tel Aviv-based technology start-up has developed a solution that analyzes human behaviour patterns within websites’ and mobile apps’ user-flows, to differentiate between bots and humans to prevent digital fraud activities.

According to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), advertisers and brands will lose an estimated $50bn as a result of ad fraud by 2025. One of the most problematic types of ad fraud is initiated by bots, which are able to fake human-like views, clicks and engagement KPIs on ad campaigns. Bot-based ad fraud can often stay under the radar for long periods of time and create huge volumes of fraudulent traffic.

Founded in 2015 by Yaron Oliker and Alon Dayan, Unbotify was named by Fast Company as 'Israel's most innovative company in 2017' and listed as one of the Gartner's '2018 Cool Vendors in Advertising'. The start-up consists of a team of 25 data scientists, former IBM managers and machine learning specialists with PHDs in Computer Science and Physics. Unbotify is working with Fortune 500 companies in eCommerce, social, search and gaming across the US and Europe.

Unbotify’s detection technology uses machine learning and deep learning to analyze hundreds of features extracted from data on device orientation, touch events, pressure sensitivity among others to detect bots. It enables marketers to determine fraudulent bot activities without obscuring any legitimate human.

“Adjust is the pioneer in mobile ad fraud prevention, and we are on a mission to bring more trust and transparency into the digital advertising industry,” said Adjust CEO and co-founder, Christian Henschel. “Combining the scale and experience of Adjust with the highly-skilled team and machine learning capabilities of Unbotify will propel Adjust’s flagship platform even further as the most robust fraud prevention suite in the industry.”

The Unbotify deal follows Adjust’s acquisition of Acquired.io, a multi-campaign management SaaS provider, in December 2018. The Unbotify acquisition will be funded through debt financing provided by TriplePoint Capital and further investments are planned to fully integrate Unbotify’s technology into Adjust’s Fraud Prevention Suite. Unbotify will continue to operate as an independent unit out of its Tel Aviv office. Headcount is expected to double this year.