This morning the online video ad network and management company Tremor Media is announcing a monster $40 million financing, bringing total capital in Tremor to $82 million. I've been tracking venture capital investments in the online and mobile video sector for the past 5 quarters and I believe this is the largest recent private company deal yet (I think the only one bigger is Ustream's $75 million deal last quarter, but only $20 million was upfront). Draper Fisher Jurveston Growth Fund is leading the new round, with participation from existing investors. Last night I talked to Jason Glickman, Tremor's CEO and exchanged emails with Randy Glein, managing director at DFJ Growth to learn more.
Jason explained that since Tremor raised $20 million last year and turned profitable, it actually didn't need the money. However, the team believes that online video advertising is at an inflection point and so the decision to really step up and "go for it" as Jason said. Primarily, that means adding more features for publishers and advertisers and enhancing the Acudeo management platform. It also means pursuing a 3 screen strategy to encompass mobile and TV platforms.
Randy said that DFJ has known Tremor for over 2 years and is motivated by the transformation underway in the advertising industry, driven by exploding online video usage to both computers and other connected devices. The shift in ad spending from traditional TV to online video is just beginning, and Randy sees Tremor - with its huge network and ad management platform - as being positioned right in the middle of all this change.
Jason further explained that the company now has the scale to attract 6 and 7-figure campaigns from brands that are increasingly drawn to the online video medium. Key challenges going forward include proving brands with the data that their online campaigns not only reach their intended targets, but also provide required brand lift and ROI. In particular, Jason said Tremor's ability to optimize against certain audiences or by metrics objectives is an important part of its success.
At VideoSchmooze on Monday night there was considerable discussion around hybrid pay/ad-supported models for premium video content. Clearly, if a content provider can garner consumer payments they should. However, the new Tremor financing is further evidence to me of the innovation and excitement around online video advertising that will make it far more valuable than TV advertising ever was. As brands come to recognize online video advertising's value proposition I see monetization per viewer (or whatever other metric of advertising success that's preferred) going up over time.
(Separate, note also that online video management provider KIT Digital yesterday also completed what is probably the largest public company financing in the online video sector - raising $55 million from the sale of over 4.2 million shares.)
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