Google Ups Its TV Bet, Invests in Invidi
Google, which is still trying to figure out how to crack the TV business, has invested in a tech firm trying to do the same thing.
The search giant is leading a $23 million series D round in Invidi Technologies, a New York City company that works on “addressable” TV ads. Addressable ads are supposed to target specific viewers, using data from set-top boxes, in the same way that Internet ads sniff out specific Web surfers.
You can see why Google (GOOG) would be interested in this stuff, particularly as it tries to integrate its Android platform with TVs. Shishir Mehrotra, who runs product management for all of Google’s video businesses, will join Invidi’s board.
Addressable ads are a holy grail for the TV business, but they may still be several years away. Invidi, founded in 2000, has completed two market trials to date.
People familiar with the transaction tell me Google has invested between $10 million and $15 million in company in this round, which brings Invidi’s total capital raised above the $85 million mark. Other investors include WPP’s GroupM, Motorola (MOT), Menlo Ventures, InterWest Partners and EnerTech Capital.
Business Insider, which first reported the investment, says the transaction is connected to Google’s ad pact with the Dish satellite network. But I’m told Dish doesn’t factor into the deal.
GroupM backed addressable TV developer Invidi Technologies Corporation says it just secured over $23 million in a financing led by Google, with GroupM (a unit of holding company WPP), Motorola Ventures, and leading venture capital firms Menlo Ventures, InterWest, and EnerTech as participants.
Google leads the round, which includes a second investment made by GroupM, the world’s largest media investment company, and Motorola, a leading set top box manufacturer. Other participants include repeat investors from INVIDI’s prior rounds of financing: Menlo Ventures, InterWest Partners, EnerTech Capital, Westbury Equity Partners, BDC Capital, and others.
As part of Google’s commitment to this new relationship, Shishir Mehrotra, Director of Product Management for Google TV Ads and YouTube Ads, has joined INVIDI’s board of directors. In addition to its investment in INVIDI, the two companies have agreed to work together on projects of mutual interest that will bring value to INVIDI’s customers.
TV ad startup Invidi has secured over $23 million in series D funding led by Google, with GroupM, Motorola Ventures, Menlo Ventures, InterWest, and EnerTech Capital, Westbury Equity Partners, BDC Capital participating in the round. The Business Insider broke the news yesterday evening.
Invidi provides software applications that track targeted advertising and offers a digital set-top box application that delivers targeted advertising and marketing messages to individual viewers. The technology also facilitates the sales of digital products, digital tiers, and digital services, such as VOD, PVR, and pay-per-view events; Internet, voice, and wireless services; and triple play offers.
In conjunction withe the funding, Shishir Mehrotra, Director of Product Management for Google TV Ads and YouTube Ads, has joined Invidi’s board of directors. In addition to its investment in Invidi, Google has committed to working with the startup on a number of products relating to TV advertising. Of course, it is expected that Invidi’s technology could be integrated with Google’s development of an Android-based software for TVs.
Founded in 2000, Invidi currently has distribution agreements with Dish Network and DirecTV. Invidi’s technology was recently tested in Comcast’s Baltimore, MD, system with Starcom MediaVest, and the trial showed addressable ads to be 65% more efficient and 32% more effective.
TV ad targeter Invidi Technologies has netted a huge
$23 million fourth round led by Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and WPP media unit GroupM. When WPP first invested in Invidi almost three years ago, its backing of the Princeton, NJ-based ad delivery system was considered a way to blunt Google’s moves into TV ad targeting. Now, the partnership can be seen as a way for Google to speed up its efforts in that area, which have been fairly slow-going.
As part of Google’s involvement, Shishir Mehrotra, Director of Product Management for Google TV Ads and YouTube Ads, has joined Invidi’s board. In addition to its investment in Invidi, the two companies have “agreed to work together on projects of mutual interest that will bring value to Invidi’s customers,” though no specifics were provided.
In addition to WPP, Motorola (NYSE: MOT), which participated in the last funding, also returned. Other backers in this latest round included Menlo Ventures, InterWest, EnerTech, Westbury Equity Partners, BDC Capital, and others.
May 5, 2010
Google is the lead investor in a new $23 million round of financing for addressable technology firm Invidi, the companies confirmed today.
It's the first time the search engine giant has invested in Invidi, which specializes in systems that enable TV ad sellers to distribute ads to select groups of viewers, down to the individual household level. Google began selling TV ads several years ago and has indicated in recent months that it remains committed to that business, both through Google TV Ads and subsidiary YouTube.
The companies already share a common connection: Dish Network. Google TV Ads has an ongoing arrangement to sell Dish inventory, while Dish is participating in a trial of Invidi's ad delivery system.
Other investors in the financing round include WPP's GroupM, set-top box maker Motorola and venture capital firm Menlo Ventures, InterWest and EnerTech. It's the second investment made by GroupM in Invidi.
"Google and GroupM share our vision that addressability will transform television advertising by increasing effectiveness and eliminating wasted reach," said Invidi CEO David Downey. "They want to play an active role in shaping this revolution."
As a result of the investment, Shishir Mehrotra, director of product management for Google TV Ads and YouTube Ads, has joined Invidi's board of directors.
In addition, the two companies said they would work together on "unspecified projects of mutual interest." The companies declined to identify the projects at this time.
"Invidi Technologies is actively advancing the growth of addressable technologies, which brings more relevance to TV viewership and advertising," Mehrotra said. "We're happy to join Invidi's investors, and we're looking forward to seeing continued progress in this space."
GroupM CEO Irwin Gotlieb, who also sits on the Invidi board, said about the new funding: "GroupM strongly believes that addressable technology and advanced advertising functionality are critical to the future of television and other media." As an industry leader in the buying and planning of TV ad time, he said, "we have a responsibility to our clients to act as a catalyst on all developments in this arena, and our continued investment in Invidi reflects this objective."
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