The Rise and Hard Fall of Analytics Firm Jumpshot

Company was abruptly shuttered last week

Man on laptop
Olu Eletu/Creative Commons

Last week, the tech startup Jumpshop closed its doors. This was a surprise to most industry observers: the company had seemed healthy in the weeks and months prior to this move. Last year, Ascential purchased 35 percent of Jumpshot; at the time of the deal, Jumpshot was valued at $173 million.

A 2019 article at Business Insider described Jumpshot as specializing in data on people’s online behavior.

Part of Jumpshot’s pitch is that it can help marketers collect data from so-called walled gardens like Amazon, Netflix, and Google that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

It’s easy to see the appeal of that for companies looking to bolster their marketing plans. One suspects it’s a bit less appealing to online privacy advocates — which seems to have been where things went sour for Jumpshot. A new Business Insider article by Lauren Johnson details the company’s rapid collapse, which began with a joint investigation from Motherboard and PCMag.

Jumpshot is a subsidiary of Avast, who you may know for their anti-virus software. The aforementioned investigation referenced documents which brought to light an unsettling synergy:

[The documents] show that the Avast antivirus program installed on a person’s computer collects data, and that Jumpshot repackages it into various different products that are then sold to many of the largest companies in the world. Some past, present, and potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Home Depot, Condé Nast, Intuit, and many others.

Avast’s stock price dropped rapidly as a result of the investigation — though a spokesperson for Avast quoted by Business Insider denied that the closure of Jumpstart had anything to do with what Motherboard and PCMag unearthed. Regardless of the reasons, it’s a rapid implosion for a once buzzed-about company.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.