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.”

HookLogic is able to supply advertisers with intelligence about how products perform across all of its publisher sites. In a statement, Intel Director of Media Rebecca Brown noted, “the platform enables Intel to promote the products we want and see closed-loop measurement of purchase activity.”

As the Intel product side achieved “tremendous” return on spend, as the brand puts it, HookLogic gained the attention of its investment division Intel Capital. “It’s nice to have a proof case built in and, of course, they have a strong interest in seeing the advertiser succeed,” Opdyke said. “But well beyond that, a lot of companies turn to Intel to supply chips [such as electronic manufacturers and automakers] and because of those relationships, Intel Capital has kind of thrived off of being able to connect the network of Intel to its investments in a positive way.”

He added, “Intel Capital really started with the idea that the more they can push the digital future, the better it is for Intel as a whole.” Intel Capital invests in a number of digital media, entertainment, enterprise and mobility shops, including video-ad platform YuMe, which recently went public.

Opdyke said HookLogic would apply the funding to create general “awareness” for brands that are already spending on search, but could stand to further “monetize their shelf space, much like [how they do offline] but in a much more real-time format online.” The company also has plans to add to its team, which consists of close to 100 employees in total between its Ann Arbor, Mich., and New York City offices, with additional satellite offices in Atlanta and the UK and near-term plans to relocate and open a larger space in New York.

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