Tag Archives: venture capital

Video Starturp Vidible Raises $3.35M in Series A Funding

Vidible PictureVidible has raised $3.35M in Series A funding led by Greycroft, according to an article released last Friday on Techrunch. Vidible is a programmatic video content exchange with a complete SaaS platform for video management to syndication and analytics. Vidible aims to deliver professional quality video content to the right context or audience at a transparent price in real time across all devices.

According to the article, President of Vidible Tim Mahlman wants to improve the “archaic” methods of syndicating videos and give more control and transparency to buyers and sellers. Vidible’s solve is a platform that allows buyers to search for different kinds of videos, while the content creators have control over where their videos get played, with both sides having access to analytics.

The video advertising business has seen a big surge in the last year. The continued growth in video consumption has led to an increase in demand from advertisers and agencies for more video impressions. Two of the big five adtech IPOs of last year were Tremor Video and YuMe, both specializing in video advertising. The content creation side hasn’t been any slower. One of Yahoo’s biggest deals last year was picking up Katie Couric in an attempt to show viewers and advertisers that they are focused on producing original and premium video content.

Greycroft’s John Elton thinks that Vidible is taking advantage of this recent growth. “I think it’s a new medium,” the article quoted Elton as saying, “There are people that do it very well, that are looking for more distribution, and there are publishers looking for content that’s appropriate for their site.” Elton also finds Vidible’s emphasis on monetization attractive. Vidible’s current setup has the content buyer pay a set rate based on impressions, then they can either run their own ads with the videos or run ads from one of Vidible’s network partners.

Until recently Vidible has been focused on R&D, but with this new round of funding it’s clear they will start to build out their business arm and client portfolio.

TellApart Hits $100 Million Revenue Run Rate, which is good news for ad tech

UntitledTechCrunch reported yesterday that TellApart is now at a revenue run rate of $100 million per year (full story). This is good news for ad tech investors who are on the lookout for proven business models within the space.

Started by Google veterans, TellApart offers a predictive customer analytics platform to enhance the management and use of ecommerce data, which means that they help online retailers precisely target relevant ads to customers based on user data. According to TechCrunch, TellApart drove nearly 1% of all Cyber Monday e-commerce in the United States this year. They only have 762 followers on Twitter (myself included), but with this sort of result, TellApart is on their way to a bigger fan base and beyond.

TechCrunch sat down with CEO Josh McFarland and James Slavet, the Greylock partner who has worked with TellApart since McFarland and his co-founder Mark Ayzenshtat started working on the concept.

I won’t dive into too many details, you can watch the video for yourself here, but there are a few points I thought were worth noting. The first is the vision for the company, which Josh defines as “realtime personalization” – predict or “tell apart” the high value customers from the low and then personalize their shopping experience via advertising. Basically, it’s behavioral/cookie targeting: a user goes onto a retail or product website and as they search for products, TellApart’s technology retargets them with ads that feature suggestions or messaging the algorithm deems to be relevant to that user.

Of course, the age old “creepiness” argument over this type of targeting is brought up, but I think Josh has an interesting spin: “…if you think about a multichannel retailer…what [TellApart is] trying to do is re-infuse the personalization of the shopping experience that used to exist that has gotten very impersonal and sort of very generic.” Advertisers are always looking for ways to justify cookie and behavioral targeting; McFarland’s “help us help you” spin on the strategy may be one that advertisers can start to use for a range of cookie targeting techniques.

McFarland’s explanation of their business model was also an important point. TellApart only gets paid when the retailer “makes money.” Think of it as a “cost-per-confirmed-purchase” model: the user must click and actually purchase an item through the TellApart targeting. While this in itself is not completely new, plenty of digital ad vendors use cost-per-click or cost-per-engagement models, it is an important milestone for a space that, as TechCrunch points out, is not use to using the word “profit.”

The last, and maybe most important point that McFarland and James Slavet make together is that the “realtime personalization” concept TellApart’s technology is built on is not only important for the future of advertising, but for the future of business in general. Both claim that TellApart’s technology is a stepping stone, if not a building block, towards any industry that could take a real-time approach to marketing and customer relationships. McFarland goes as far as to suggest doctors will one day be getting a report that analyzes a patient’s history and suggests to the doctor a list of questions to ask during the examination, all before walking into the room. “‘The banner ad is heroic,'” McFarland says, quoting John Battelle’s recent blog post, “…the tech that companies like TellApart is building is so core to the future of pretty much everything we do with technology….”

I encourage everyone to watch the video to learn more about TellApart’s technology, how McFarland avoided the trap of becoming an “entrepreneur-in-reticence,” and the importance of the VC-founder relationship.