VideoAmp, a startup focused on optimizing cross-screen video ad campaigns, has raised a $15 million Series A round led by RTL Group, with participation from existing investors. The new funds will be used for product and business development. VideoAmp has raised $17.2 million to date. RTL is already active in the video space, having invested in both SpotX and clypd.
A video ad tech financing like this would have happened on a near-weekly basis just a few years ago, but with investor confusion about the space due to fragmentation (see the LumaScape), as well as uncertain market conditions, VideoAmp’s raise is quite unusual. Yesterday I spoke to VideoAmp’s CEO Ross McCray and its chief business officer, Jay Prasad, to learn more about company differentiators and how it succeeded with the financing.
VideoAmp has developed what it calls a “Screen Optimization Platform” that uses data science to help advertisers plan, buy and measure audiences across linear TV, VOD, desktop, OTT and mobile video. Ross explained that with viewership fragmenting, it’s harder than ever to reach desired audiences and optimize spending.
VideoAmp spent its first year building a “cross device graph” of 150M users - essentially a rich data set that encapsulates their video viewing behaviors across different platforms. Ross said VideoAmp made the data available via APIs to clients who can then develop their own applications on top, for a self-service model. After making the APIs available, VideoAmp has built them into their own front-end console which can be used by the company or clients for planning and execution. Other apps leveraging the data set are in the works.
While the media’s narrative often focuses on shifting TV ad dollars to video, the reality is that each medium has its own strengths and the two can work well together. Back in April, 2014, in “Putting the Silly Debate Aside: Online Video and TV Advertising Are In Fact Complimentary,” I asserted that savvy advertisers were in fact already recognizing the beneficial ways TV and video could be paired for improved efficiency and effectiveness.
This is even more true now as programmatic and audience-based buying have become more dominant. VideoAmp is looking to capitalize on these themes, using its core data sets to help advertisers understand precisely where their target audiences are and how much spending to allocate, before reaching the point of diminishing returns. In other words, rather than wasting dollars by hitting the same viewer repeatedly while not reaching others at all, VideoAmp helps advertisers efficiently extend to incremental audiences by seeing multiple inventory sources.
VideoAmp currently has access to inventory from LiveRail, Google, Adap.tv, SpotX, MoPub and a number private marketplaces, with an integration queue into Q2 ’16.
Note: data enablement will be key topics at the Dec. 1st SHIFT // 2015 Programmatic Video & TV Ad Summit. Early bird discounted registration is available until Friday. Register now!