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This AI startup claims to solve the $1 trillion


In a response to the marketing crisis, Prophet, a marketing tech startup, has successfully raised $5 million in seed funding. The investment comes from prominent Australian media and advertising figures, including Antony Catalano from Australian Community Media and Matt Rockman, co-founder of Seek.

Prophet aims to address the $1 trillion gap in marketing and advertising budgets caused by Google’s discontinuation of cookies, coupled with data blind spots that lead to substantial losses for businesses annually due to ineffective ad spending.

Initially focusing on the Australian market, which presents a $23 billion opportunity on its own, Prophet is determined to revolutionize the industry.

The start-up has officially launched following three years of developing its innovative predictive intelligence platform in secrecy. Led by an orchestra of tech and media heavyweights. Amongst these are Executive Chair of View Media Group and former Domain CEO Antony Catalano, Seek co-founder Matt Rockman, and Former Dentsu CEO Cheuk Chiang.

By applying Nobel-prize-winning mathematics, Prophet’s predictive intelligence platform enables organisations to quantify the historical return on investment of their entire online and offline marketing mix, while also predicting future outcomes against a library of thousands of macroeconomic data points; saving anywhere from 10-50% of marketing spend.

Prophet’s launch signals the first time organisations can run complex mathematical modelling in near-real-time, ensuring that what happened yesterday, can be actioned on today, removing limitations of current 60 to 90-day increments in the market today.

The projected value of the global advertising market in 2024 is estimated at $1.15 trillion. Approximately 86% of this expenditure is expected to be wasted due to blind and inefficient allocation, assuming conservative cookie opt-in rates of around 14%. Industry variations suggest rates ranging from 10% to 24%, with Adjust citing 23% and Mi3 citing 10%.

In Australia, the total advertising revenue is forecasted to reach AUD27.7 billion in 2024, indicating a potential waste of roughly $23.8 billion in ad spending.

According to Neilsen, retailers allocated $2.56 billion to advertising in 2023. Enhancing the efficiency of this spending by just 1% could translate to adding tens of millions of dollars back to their bottom lines.

Jordan Taylor-Bartels, CEO of Prophet, said that while every business leader wants to make marketing budgets more efficient, the ability to do so with existing tech will only continue to rapidly decline. “If your marketing team is handling large amounts of budget, you can no longer afford for them to be making significant spending decisions based on data that is, best case, 3 months old when they receive it,” he says. “We’ve packaged the world’s most sophisticated mathematics and data analysis into a living, breathing platform that any brand decision-maker can use to optimise every brand dollar, without having to be tech-savvy.” 

“Our testing to date has demonstrated Prophet can save businesses anywhere from 10 to 50 per cent on marketing and ad spend by accurately demonstrating what’s working, and where budgets should be diverted for maximum impact. There’s clearly an appetite for this breakthrough, too; raising $5 million for a new platform in this market is hard at the best of times, and we’ve managed to achieve that pre-revenue,” he concluded.

Established marketing platforms are set to be left in the dark as internet giants flick the switch off on third-party cookies by year’s end. This huge change represents a cataclysmic shift in organisational measurement, as Prophet’s solution is poised to rival and outperform traditional approaches.

Taylor-Bartels says that any business with a significant marketing or advertising spend should be preparing to adapt: “Consumer sentiment and spending power is low, inflation is high, and Google’s 2024 sunsetting of third-party cookies has made it much harder to measure return on investment.

“Meanwhile, marketers are using market-mix-modelling tech based on the same mathematical models used to predict the weather. Prophet gives them the ability to unearth subtle trends that previously would have been missed,” says Taylor-Bartels.

The Melbourne-based tech play is helmed by former Hyperloop Global Marketing lead Jordan Taylor-Bartels and former Ogilvy and VMLY&R Commerce CEO Sean Taylor. Alongside Taylor-Bartels, Prophet was co-founded by mathematician Patrick Robotham, statistician John Strumila and Full-Stack-Developer Clyde So, all highly experienced in their respective fields. The company’s development also team touts A-list talent from organisations including NASA, SpaceX, Linktree, WPP, Dentsu and Deloitte.

On the company’s investment, Prophet co-founder and Executive Chairman Sean Taylor says: “Having been in the advertising and media world for more than 30 years, I’ve never seen a tool that has the ability to allow clients to make better decisions on the media spend with such clarity, so simply. The three years of development, with incredibly intelligent people, has been an extraordinary journey. We can’t wait to bring this to market”.

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