Video tech startup VideoAmp is on a hiring spree, thanks to a $70 million cash infusion.
The round, announced Wednesday, was led by investment bank The Raine Group, which kicked in $50 million. Ankona Capital contributed the rest, bringing VideoAmp’s total funding to just over $100 million since 2014.
VideoAmp isn’t taking any money off the table, said company CEO and co-founder Ross McCray.
Headcount at VideoAmp, which has technology to enable cross-platform measurement for linear TV and digital video, was roughly 140 when the cash officially landed in the company’s bank account about a month and a half ago.
But VideoAmp plans to soon hit 250 employees by hiring client success folks and data scientists to support growth and scale the company’s enterprise sales.
The time is ripe for data-driven TV, and the pieces are finally falling into place, McCray said.
For one, the “connective tissue” exists to share data between buyers and sellers via players such as Experian, LiveRamp, Adobe and others, he said. At the same time, agencies, like OMD, are merging their linear and digital staffs into integrated video teams, while brands are starting to demand greater accountability and angle for more direct relationships with publishers.
“There aren’t really any roadblocks anymore that I see, especially not technically,” McCray said. “Now it’s more about, ‘Hey, are you getting on the train to modernization or are you not?’”
But that’s not to say it’s all smooth sailing from here.
The value exchange between media buyers and sellers is “broken,” McCray said, a disconnect that lead investor The Raine Group sees firsthand through the companies in its portfolio, which includes publishers – Vice, Cheddar, HowStuffWorks – but, until VideoAmp, no ad tech.
The Raine Group was attracted by the prospect of helping change the metrics that TV buyers and sellers trade on and injecting the transaction with more fairness.
“Media companies are getting screwed, and marketers are spending all of this money and they don’t know what’s working and what isn’t,” McCray said. “We’re trying to help sellers make the transition to selling on outcomes, which also generates more value for clients and increases yield.”
VideoAmp will also use its fresh funding to open offices in Boston and Baltimore and expand its footprint in existing locations, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. There are no current plans to expand internationally.
But VideoAmp could be in the market for another acquisition or acquihire along the lines of IronGrid, the data processor startup it bought in July 2018 to manage unstructured data from set-top boxes.
Expertise in data science, access to unique first-party data and anything to do with attribution are all attractive prospects, McCray said.
“We’re opportunistic – anything we can do to help eliminate friction is key,” he said. “We’re even hiring a function right now whose job it will be to always be looking at the market.”