Downtown-based Social Reality Inc. (SRAX) is bringing blockchain technology to advertising.

On Nov. 19, the company released a new blockchain-based application designed to give consumers more control over the data they share with advertisers. Currently in beta testing, the application is expected to be fully in use by the end of January.

Users must opt in to the platform, dubbed BIGToken, which gathers their demographic and other information. That data is then anonymized in a database advertisers pay to access.

SRAX Chief Executive and co-founder Christopher Miglino said 50 percent of the firm’s revenue is then returned to users through points that can be redeemed for cash via bank transfer in the BIGToken app. The more active a user is, the more valuable their data becomes, and the more points SRAX allots them.

Users can also opt in to constant location tracking and a check-in feature, which rewards them with 25 monthly points.

The blockchain allows consumers to see which companies are purchasing their data as each individual transaction is reported and cannot be edited or removed from the chain.

“Some consumers are highly active, generating in value about $2,000 a month,” said Kristoffer Nelson, the company’s chief operating officer. “If you’re an influencer, you’ll earn more money over time because you’re bringing new users and value to the platform. You don’t need millions of people to generate substantial value, you just need good ones,” Nelson said.

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NEW AFFILIATIONS

Tech Coast Angels Inc., a network of angel investors based in Laguna Nigel, welcomed Pasadena-based SWS Venture Capital to its ranks Nov. 28.

SWS Venture Capital makes early-stage investments in consumer technology startups. Chairman Steve Streit founded Pasadena’s Green Dot Corp., a provider of prepaid debit cards, in 1999 and accepted early funding from Tech Coast Angels.

As an affiliate member of Tech Coast Angels, SWS Venture Capital will have “an opportunity to get a start with exciting new tech firms,” said David Friedman, who created the affiliate program.

Since its 1997 incorporation, Tech Coast Angels reports its members have invested over $200 million in more than 350 companies, attracting more than $1.6 billion in additional capital and follow-on rounds from venture capital firms.

According to Friedman, the new SWS partnership “is one of many steps we’re taking to grow partnerships and develop a truly strong small – and large − entrepreneurial and funding ecosystem for exceptional young companies.”

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TASKUS EXPANDS

It’s been a banner year for Santa Monica-based TaskUs.

After 10 years in operation, the tech-services staffing firm added five new locations, 2,000 more employees and a mammoth $250 million in new funding in 2018.

“We grew more this year than any other in our 10-year history,” said TaskUs Chief Executive Bryce Maddock.

Private equity outfit Blackstone Group led TaskUs’s $250 million Series-B funding round in August, bringing the startup’s total raised to $279 million.

The company opened new offices in Albuquerque, N.M.; New Braunfels, Texas; and expanded into new markets in Taiwan, Mexico and the Philippines.

With the additional offices, TaskUs expanded its presence to more than a dozen offices globally. The company said it plans to establish new offices in Europe, India and to expand further into Latin America in the next 18 months.

Maddock said the company’s clients are primarily consumer brands. “As they continue to expand their customer base globally, TaskUs is eager to expand into key markets alongside them,” he said.

Ranked No. 36 on the Business Journal’s fastest growing companies list in 2018, TaskUs grew its revenue 119 percent between 2015 and 2017, and posted $117.3 million in 2017 revenue, up from $78.9 million the previous year.

Staff reporter Samson Amore can be reached at samore@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8335.

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