Video Ad Startups Ignite A Funding Fire

FanFlameIf four video ad tech acquisitions in the second half of 2014 weren’t enough evidence the space is hot hot hot, a barrage of new investments in video marketing startups should help drive that point home.

Vidyard, a video marketing automation platform, just raised $18 million in Series B funding from Bessemer Venture Partners and existing investors iNovia Capital, OMERS Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and SoftTech VC, bringing its total financing to $25.7 million. The company employs 60, but expects to grow to 100 by the end of the year.

Vidyard’s capabilities differ from some of the exchange-based video startups purchased last year.

Its software distribution platform is designed for brands and agencies to create, host, distribute and track their video content with integrations to marketers’ existing CRM, analytics and back-end systems.

Marketers can access that data to see how their videos performed – for instance, when audiences dropped off and who was watching, said Michael Litt, CEO of Vidyard. Clients can also integrate this information into marketing automation platforms to improve lead scoring.

“If you develop a three-minute-long video, and data shows people drop off before they see a call to action, it can really help improve the production of content,” he said.

“Video at all stages of the funnel, either on owned-and-operated sites or via social campaigns, etc., is accelerating,” Litt said. “We’ve seen more top-of-the-funnel content pieces distributed to Facebook and Twitter to drive awareness.”

Marketers who use Vidyard for distribution generally experience the most traction with email and Facebook campaigns, Litt said, which is in lockstep with the marked uptick in video posts per user recorded by Facebook in the US and globally.

Publisher-Focused Platform Surge

The video investment dollars are going to publisher-serving platforms, too.

A number of supply-side-focused companies got snatched up last year, including LiveRail, SpotXchange, Videoplaza and Ooyala.

Parisian video supply-side platform Teads, which merged in 2014 with demand-side video tool eBuzzing, on Tuesday announced it had raised $30 million in financing, $15 million of which was equity-based, the remainder coming from a mid-term line of credit issued by Bank of China and HSBC.

Bertrand Quesada, Teads’ CEO, said the video ad platform did $100 million in net revenue last year, a 65% increase year over year.

Teads develops something called an “inRead” video ad format, which only activates sound or motion when a viewer scrolls over a placement. Quesada says it’s consumer- and advertiser-friendly, since Teads runs semantic analysis to align ads with contextual content, and only charges advertisers for completed views. Forbes, Slate and Reuters all white-label its tools, and Videology, Turn, DBM, and others hook in on the demand side.

“We’ve only been operating in the US for a year and a half, but now we’re working with over 500 premium publishers including Hearst, Condé Nast, Reuters and The Washington Post,” said Quesada. “Publishers are desperate to grow their dollars in the video space and it’s a good way to address the challenge of lack of premium video inventory that exists today. We plan to use the financing to expand our team and offices globally.”

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