INCOPRO raises $21m from Highland Europe to scale its online brand & IP protection platform
· INCOPRO growing 100%+ year-on-year
· Clients include Reckitt Benckiser, NBC Universal & Harley-Davidson
London, 18th May 2018 – INCOPRO, the pioneer in online brand and intellectual property protection, announces today that it has raised $21m from leading growth equity investor Highland Europe. Sam Brooks and Gajan Rajanathan from Highland Europe are joining the INCOPRO board.
The company will use the investment to accelerate the development of its Talisman online brand protection technology to help businesses safeguard their brands from counterfeit and piracy threats online. INCOPRO will also expand its existing operations in China, as well as strengthen its presence in the United States and Europe to provide truly global threat coverage to clients.
A business idea hatched over coffee in 2011, INCOPRO – which is today at the forefront of the $1bn-plus online brand protection market - combines the legal and technical expertise of its co-founders Simon Baggs (CEO) and Bret Boivin (CTO), with the law enforcement and intelligence background of Helen Saunders (COO) to deliver innovative solutions to companies facing the threat of IP infringement on a global scale.
“Online IP infringement is a global issue that affects companies in all sectors, from luxury goods to automotive spare parts,” says INCOPRO’s co-founder and CEO Simon Baggs. “The internet revolution has created a massive challenge for businesses seeking to protect their products and brands from counterfeiting and other forms of brand abuse online. Until now, brands have not been offered the tools to effectively deal with this threat.
“Talisman uses cutting-edge technology to identify and enforce not just individual infringements, but whole networks of illicit behaviour. This unique, intelligence-driven enforcement strategy has a lasting impact on counterfeiters, benefitting clients’ bottom lines. It is crucial that an online brand protection strategy truly addresses the root of the problem, rather than just playing a game of ‘whack-a-mole’ - and that is how we have built Talisman.”
‘Machine learning tech’
Talisman monitors IP infringements by scouring all corners of the web in real time using machine learning technology, pulling in data from major platforms ranging from online marketplaces and social media through to websites and app stores. Intelligent algorithms prioritise the key issues for clients and its unique, automated network analysis identifies sophisticated, large-scale operators.
The removal of each identified infringement typically occurs within eight to 24 hours, with a 99 percent success rate. INCOPRO’s customers include a host of household name brands including Reckitt Benckiser, Ted Baker, ghd, NBC Universal, Harley Davidson, Hunter, Tangle Teezer, and BBC Studios.
The company’s other products include Identify, a market-leading anti-piracy intelligence tool that tracks over 17,000 piracy websites across the globe, and Spectrum, which helps brands navigate an increasingly opaque ad-buying universe to ensure their adverts are not positioned beside undesirable content.
INCOPRO - which has been recognised in major industry awards including the Managing Intellectual Property, UK Innovation in IP Award (2018) and the Financial Times Innovation in IP award (2015) - will focus the investment in three key areas.
First, it will accelerate the development of Talisman, building on its AI-driven capabilities to rapidly identify and eliminate IP infringements, as well as expand its product suite to offer clients a full range of tools to ensure the success of their digital strategy.
Second, the business will scale its global footprint - building on its existing presence in North America, Europe and China. INCOPRO will continue investing in and growing its current team in Shanghai, critical to the overall global strategy.
Finally, INCOPRO will continue to build out its outstanding leadership team. Following the recent addition of Johannes Hertz as CFO, it announces today the appointment of Chris Hardy as Chief Revenue Officer for the company, joining from OVH (the cloud storage provider).
“As experienced e-commerce and marketplace investors, we are intimately familiar with both the opportunity and the challenge that brands face from the global secular shift of retail and media consumption,” says Sam Brooks, Partner of Highland Europe. “We believe that the scale of the challenge for brand and IP owners is enormous and growing in complexity.
“We have been impressed by the deep domain expertise that Simon, Bret, Helen and the INCOPRO team have leveraged to build such a compelling platform, protecting the interests of some of the best-known brands globally.”
Simon Baggs adds: “We’re very excited to be partnering with the Highland Europe team and their collective experience building global category winners. We look forward to our shared journey ahead.”
Houlihan Loukey acted as financial advisor to INCOPRO on this transaction.
Founded in 2012, INCOPRO is an online IP and brand protection company. Its proprietary technology platform TALISMAN collates a mass of data on brand infringement and automatically identifies and prioritises IP violations. Its clustering technology is uniquely able to track and connect the commercial scale counterfeiters, enabling comprehensive takedown of all associated operations. Headquartered in London, with INCOPRO’s analysts working across the United States, Europe, and Asia, INCOPRO works with some of the largest global brands to provide connected and actionable insights into IP infringements online. For additional information regarding INCOPRO, please visit www.incoproip.com.