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Ari Emanuel's Endeavor owns properities like UFC. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Data firm Applecart said Monday that it had raised $6 million from investors led by Hollywood powerhouse Ari Emanuel.

The big picture: The interest in Applecart, which mashes up online and offline data, shows that data techniques it developed for political clients are just as in demand for consumer marketing.

The details:

  • The firm raised the $6 million at an undisclosed valuation.
  • In addition to Emanuel's Endeavor, investors include Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, Aspect Ventures, former Yelp SVP Michael Stoppelman and Infinite Computer Solutions founder Sanjay Govil.
  • As part of the deal Applecart will work with Emanuel's Endeavor, which owns brands like Ultimate Fighting Championship and Professional Bull Riders, to leverage "its technology to help power data-driven marketing efforts on behalf of Endeavor brands and properties." (Ari Emanuel is also the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.)
  • While Applecart is seen as a right-leaning firm, it has also worked for Democrats it feels align with its views on policy. “We don’t really care what someone’s party label is," said Co-CEO Sacha Samotin.

The company says its edge lies in mapping the connections between people, and using that information to better target them with advertising messages.

“One is you build a better machine to plug and chug the data that you already have. The other is you bring better data to the table that better explains all of the variation that we see in human behavior," said Samotin. “We are building a better machine, for sure, but our core value-add is on the second piece."

Samotin gave the example of a fraternity or sorority directory, which the firm can buy from a site like eBay and then analyze. "Someone who is in the fraternity at your school in the same year you were would be considered a generally stronger relationship than someone who graduated three years ahead of you," he said, noting that connection would be even stronger if two people were connected by another institution, as well.

The backdrop: Targeted advertising is under new scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica scandal that ensnared Facebook.

  • The firm says it works only with publicly available data or sources where the data was gathered willingly. Samotin noted that "mashing up data from tons of different sources with integrity” can be a complex and difficult problem.

Go deeper

Biden threatens new sanctions against Ethiopian officials over Tigray conflict

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order allowing the Treasury and State Departments to impose sanctions against Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict" in the Tigray region.

Driving the news: Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions in Tigray, but less than 10 percent of the needed humanitarian supplies has reached the region over the last month "due to the obstruction of aid access" by the Ethiopian government, according to Biden administration officials.

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.

The consumer's massive "war chest"

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Economists expect the pace of economic growth to cool off now that government transfer payments like stimulus checks and emergency unemployment benefits are in the rearview mirror. But evidence suggests that the U.S. consumer is sitting on a lot of financial firepower that could be a key driver of growth in the quarters to come.

Why it matters: U.S. consumer spending is massive, representing about 70% of GDP.