Brian Lesser. Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Xandr

InfoSum, a marketing data company, announced Tuesday the completion of its Series A funding round of $15.1 million to accelerate the company's expansion across North America and Europe.

Driving the news: With the announcement, it also named Brian Lesser, the former CEO of AT&T's advertising unit Xandr, to lead the company as executive chairman.

Why it matters: Lesser's abrupt departure from Xandr in March left many in the advertising industry confused about the future of AT&T's ad business.

  • The company never commented on Lesser's departure. But a new press release from InfoSum announcing the raise says that Xandr uses InfoSum, so the relationship is presumably cordial.
  • Xandr's chief business officer and interim head Kirk McDonald left the company last week to become the CEO of North America for WPP's ad-buying unit GroupM.

Details: The InfoSum round is being led by Upfront Ventures and IA Ventures and supported by strategic partners Ascential, Akamai, Experian, ITV and AT&T’s Xandr. All use InfoSum.

  • InfoSum allows different companies to share their own first-party data, without either party having to give the data over to a third-party to manage it, which poses privacy and security risks.
  • "The system by which two data rich companies learn from each other and collaborate is archaic," Lesser told Axios in an interview.
  • Frequently, companies need to share their data with other companies in order to help enrich their data. For example, a retail company may have credit card data about a person, and a social media company may have purchase intent data about a person.
  • InfoSum helps to combine those data sets without either party having to hand over their proprietary data to a third-party vendor.

Go deeper: CEO of AT&T's ad unit resigns

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