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Chicago tech investments cover big and small

Updated: November 6, 2012 6:34AM

Chicago and one of its technology startups won new investments Thursday, reflecting business’ needs for an efficient way to be heard.

In separate announcements, Perfect Audience won a $1.1 million seed round of funding from prominent tech investors, while AT&T announced it has invested $192 million in the city’s wired and wireless networks in the first half of this year.

Perfect Audience, a Chicago-based startup that helps small businesses “follow” their website visitors with targeted online ads, has expanded its service to include Facebook ads. The process of following up with an interested customer is called “retargeting.”

The service greatly expands companies’ visibility by using Facebook Exchange, where Facebook members recently started seeing ads on their pages for products for which they’d expressed an interest online.

Perfect Audience has won business from 75 companies for the Facebook service in the past few weeks, heralding its ability to let small companies quickly set up their ads and ad frequency by filling out an online form.

As for AT&T, the telcom carrier said Thursday it has invested $192 million in its Chicago wireless and wireline networks during the first half of this year, and has plowed nearly $1.2 billion in its Chicago wireline and wireless networks over the past three and one-half years.

The investments include increased 4G LTE high-speed wireless coverage, expanded U-verse video service and extra antennas at McCormick Place convention center, the new Children’s Hospital and Chicago’s ballparks.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said such investments in broadband infrastructure will further his goal of making Chicago “the Digital Alley of the Midwest.”

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