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NetProspex Banks $13M To Build B2B Data Management Business

MichaelBirdNetProspex, a cloud-based data management company focused on B2B marketing, has raised $13 million in Series C funding from Spring Lake Equity Partners.

NetProspex has grown from 78 employees to 110 from the end of 2013 until now. The company plans to utilize its new funding for sales and marketing development, as well as add an estimated 50 to its team by year’s end.

The company spent the past year building out its product line. For instance, it debuted NetProspex Workbench, its own version of a data management platform (DMP) designed to give marketers access to clean and targeted data in which to execute campaigns. While DMPs have been acquisition targets in recent years, the eight-year-old NetProspex believes there is much room for growth on the B2B marketing side of the equation.

“B2C has historically been more advanced in hyper-targeting and sending a message that’s well-crafted to the right person at the right time,” said Michael Bird, CEO of NetProspex. “But make no mistake the technologies are bleeding together…Oracle went from barely acknowledging cloud a few years ago to spending close to $3 billion in acquisitions in the last year [for data and campaign management capabilities].”


ISocket Reaps $5M In Funding As Publishers Flock To Programmatic Direct

isocketSan Francisco-based iSocket has raised $5 million in funding, led by Time Warner Investments. The round reflects publishers’ growing interest in the nascent area of programmatic direct ad buying.

This latest round represents the second half of iSocket’s B series (the first half was led by Foundry Group) and brings the company’s total to  $16.3 million. The money will bolster iSocket’s technology stack, including “iSocket for Publishers” and “iSocket for Advertisers.”

Programmatic direct allows advertisers to buy fixed-price, reserved inventory directly from publishers while using technology to streamline the burdensome and often paper-heavy invoicing process. Consequently, it often has a heavy sales automation component.

It’s this last point, iSocket CEO Richard Jalichandra said, that has resonated most with premium publishers in recent months. Many were reluctant to allocate a significant portion of their inventory to real-time bidding (RTB) – which is often equated erroneously with programmatic.


Facebook, Twitter Ads Partner 4C Raises $5 Million

4C artSocial data analytics company 4C Insights has raised $5 million in Series B funding from Jump Capital. 4C originated last fall when ecommerce ad-tech company The Echo System merged with Twitter Ads API partner and Facebook PMD Voxsup, founded by Northwestern University Professor Alok Choudhary.

4C currently employs between 30-40 people, but expects to grow well past 60 in the coming months, said company CEO Lance Neuhaser (who’d previously been CEO of The Echo System).

The company is actively beefing up its product capabilities, which includes leveraging social data and brand-and-user affinity connections in much broader ways. Neuhaser said 4C uses social data as a behavioral mechanism “to understand every single marketing communication ingestion point.” One area of focus is television.

“We have significantly grown the product and the engineering team with the idea being we want to impact multiple channels,” said Choudhary, whose big data algorithm that turns social media intelligence into insights for ad targeting was the basis for Voxsup. “TV is an important aspect of that. We want to bring the use of our data and science in a way that scales to a much larger number of users and data sets.”

As Facebook, with its acquisition of SportStream and launch of Trending Topics continues to rival Twitter’s foothold in real-time, media buyers will look for more advanced ways to draw associations based on social affinity, instead of just standard geographic or demographic data.


Venturing Into 2014: Predictions From The Investment Community

vc-2014'Tis the season for predictions, so AdExchanger reached out to members of the venture capital community for their opinions on what's in store for 2014.

Click below to read "the bets" or scroll for more:

Jeff Crowe, managing partner, Norwest Venture Partners

  1. "Real-time" engulfs the entire marketing ecosystem. Real-time no longer just means DSPs automatically bidding on RTB exchanges. RTB is now RTA (real-time advertising) on its way to RTM (real-time marketing), encompassing all communications between a brand and its customers.
  2. The mobile app and the mobile ad merge, making mobile ads finally interesting to users.
  3. Ads that fully engage and deliver a user’s true attention break out – they go beyond being the subject of ad-tech conference speeches and explode into a hot ad unit with full transparency and viewability that all brands are talking about.
  4. Data-management platforms (DMPs) become broadly and deeply deployed by leading brands. In the meantime, the definition of a DMP becomes even more muddled, as every ad-tech vendor looks into its product bag of tricks and discovers that it, too, has a DMP.
  5. The holy grail of attribution becomes closer to reality, as the attribution wars heat up. Standalone attribution vendors see their customer adoption soaring, while existing ad platforms scramble to offer their own “good enough” attribution solutions. Meanwhile, with better attribution, brands discover the truth about the real value of search in both offline and even online conversion.
  6. After years of industry hype, some big brands actually execute four-way (display, social, mobile, video) cross-channel advertising with frequency caps in a single campaign across multiple continents.
  7. Big CRM and enterprise software companies start to actually care about all this.

And finally, the tech IPO train does not stop in 2014 and even includes a few more ad-tech passengers. Let the good times roll!


Sailthru Nabs $20M Series C Round From Scale Venture Partners

NeilCapelSailthru, a provider of data marketing and personalization solutions, has raised $20 million in Series C financing from ScaleVP, whose past investments include cloud-based marketing technology companies like HubSpot, Omniture, Vitrue and ExactTarget.

Sailthru’s founder and CEO Neil Capel, a venture partner at Bowery Capital, said the funding will go toward sales, marketing, product engineering and international expansion.

The New York-based company founded in 2008 has raised a total of $48 million in financing and opened a London office after its $19 million injection from Benchmark Capital last winter. Its total headcount at 150 is almost doubled from 85 last year.

Sailthru’s customer base spans publishers like Thrillist and SpinMedia to retail brand Alex and Ani and commerce marketplace OpenSky; the Sailthru use case differs by vertical, but in general companies use its solutions to deliver individualized content or messaging to consumers based on prior interactions, regardless of whether those interactions took place on a handset, tablet or desktop.


TapCommerce Raises $10.5M In Series A Financing

BrianLongMobile retargeting platform TapCommerce has raised $10.5 million in a Series A round led by Bain Capital Ventures with participation from RRE and Nielsen Ventures and existing investors.

While Web-based retargeting historically focused on recent visitors who abandoned an onsite purchase, certain aspects of mobile behavior completely disrupt traditional retargeting practices.

For instance, TapCommerce CEO Brian Long pointed out that mobile app installs, “especially in the retail vertical, indicate [by download] you probably like a brand and have transacted with them in the past, so there’s a better chance of re-engaging them.” In this instance, the challenge for brands is continuing user engagement after the initial app install.

Launched in 2012 after raising $1.2 million of seed capital, Long said TapCommerce has since grown to more than 50 customers, including eBay and, doubling its revenue over the past eight months.

Moving forward, the New York-based technology company intends to focus on domestic and international expansion. The company is in the process of opening a West Coast office, adding a GM of Europe and increasing its engineering talent and plans to tap into the Latin American market. Scott Friend of Bain Capital and Eric Wiesen of RRE Ventures have joined TapCommerce’s board of directors.


Advertiser Turned Investor: Intel Capital Plants $14.3M Stake In HookLogic

IntelIntel Capital, the venture-capital arm of early HookLogic advertiser Intel, has invested $14.3 million in the ecommerce search-advertising company through a Series-B round that included some support from Bain Capital Ventures and former AdMeld CEO Michael Barrett.

HookLogic, which recently launched a bid marketplace for ecommerce advertisers called the Retail Search Exchange, powers brands and marketers with premium search placements on retail sites that sell their products. Intel was early in on the buy side of the exchange.

“Intel has a big interest in seeing products with Intel chips being promoted on retail sites and in some instances, specific chips, because there might be a newer model or more advanced stuff Intel is trying to put out,” commented Jonathan Opdyke, CEO of HookLogic.

“Intel does a lot to promote the marketing of the various manufacturers or OEMs of its equipment, so, as an early user, they were able to come in and promote the kinds of products they wanted to see across our exchange."


Explaining Venture Capital: "What Are The Reasons For An Inside Round?"

genacastGil Beyda is  ‎Founder & Managing Partner at Genacast Ventures. His firm's investments have included Invite Media (acquired by Google in 2010) and Demdex (acquired by Adobe in 2011).

AdExchanger asked Mr. Beyda to explain a fundraising tactic increasingly used by advertising technology startups known as an "inside round."

In venture capital, an "inside round" is additional investment that is made by a company's existing investors. From outside a company, it is difficult to know why it was done or whether a company is doing well or not.

Here are some reasons for an inside round.


Ad Tech Deals Doubled In First Half Of '13, But Options For Sellers May Be Shrinking

Colin Knudsen, CDPThere were 34 "ad tech & services" deals during the first six months of 2013, double the amount during the same period the year before, according to figures complied by technology focused investment bank Coady Diemar Partners. Total value for H1-2013 M&A activity was up 664% with a collective $1.2 billion spent on acquisitions and investments. Read the release.

To put those numbers in further context, ad tech was among the least active of the eight business segments that CDP looked at. The most active areas were Agency & Marketing, which supported 192 total deals, followed by Information with 164, and Digital Content with 145 transactions.

Ad tech was next to last on the list, ahead of only the social media space in terms of the number of deals. The ad tech space came in fifth when ranked according to deal values, with mobile's collective $1.6 billion and social media's aggregate $1.2 billion bringing up the rear. That either means consolidation still has a long way to go; or more likely, the number of companies that appeal to investors and acquirers is dwindling.


Digital Media Summit Ends With Mozilla And IAB On-Stage Debate

dmsToday, LUMA Partners gathered together ad tech executives from near and far for its annual Digital Media Summit during New York City's Internet Week.  The agenda featured a content-rich day of discussions on the corporate development and strategy side of ad tech, as opposed to the client side.

Among the highlights was a keynote by Google's Neal Mohan announcing a "real-time" update to their benchmarking tool and foray into engagement metrics. Also, Twitter's Director of Product for Revenue Kevin Weill made an appearance along with Facebook's agency biz chief Blake Chandlee in a high-level fireside chat featuring LUMA's master of ceremonies and founder Terence Kawaja.

At the end of the day-long event, there was time for one last "fireside" chat as Kawaja interviewed (and prodded) IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg. As the IAB chief finished explaining that Mozilla's recent cookie-blocking moves were anything but consumer friendly, Kawaja "surprised" the crowd – and seemingly Rothenberg, too – by inviting Mozilla SVP of Business and Legal Affairs Harvey Anderson to the stage to debate and discuss Mozilla's recent moves.

The transcript follows (MP3 here):