Native advertising technology startup TripleLift has raised a $4 million Series A round led by True Ventures. The investment, made three months ago, has gone toward building out the company’s RTB-based native ad exchange.
New York-based TripleLift’s CEO, Eric Berry, said the money has supported hires in engineering, sales and business development. In addition to its NYC headquarters, TripleLift is expanding offices in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Berry said TripleLift’s growth is driven by demand on the publisher side, and the focus will be on building on its existing native ad exchange. In addition, the company plans to announce new products outside the exchange in “the coming months."
In terms of clients, “Our wheelhouse is brands that connect with consumers via content,” said Ari Lewine, TripleLift's chief strategy officer. “TripleLift has pioneered a new type of format in which the ad unit adapts to its surroundings in real time.”
In other words, a client like Gucci can have a visual presence in content about fashion in a way that is seen as an addition, not a distraction, to that content, Lewine says. It’s a solution he sees as the future of digital advertising and a win-win for brand, publisher and consumer.
“From a consumer perspective ... these ads are actually beautiful. They’re helpful,” he said.
Part of the inspiration for TripleLift’s strategy is native advertising on Facebook and Twitter, which integrate sponsored and user content. Many brands and publishers may not have the horsepower to do something similar on their own.
“We want to support this for the rest of the Internet that doesn’t necessarily have the scale of the big boys” when it comes to native ads, Lewine said.
In addition, the company wants to address scalability issues across different screens and believes content-relevant advertising is key for brands wanting to reach mobile users.
True Ventures, of Silicon Valley, was also the lead investor in TripleLift’s July 2012 seed round. Other investors re-upped during this latest round and, according to Berry, nearly all asked to invest above their pro rata amount.
“Calibre of team is the most important thing,” said Adam D'Augelli, who represented True Ventures on the deal. “The core of what [TripleLift] is doing is really hard” and cost-prohibitive.
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