Ad Tech Still Hot: VCs Pour in $30M More to Networked Insights, Yieldex


It would seem rational that the big funding rounds we’ve seen in advertising technology would slow down. Don’t tell that the venture capitalists. They’re still laying big bets in the area. Today’s beneficiaries: Networked Insights, which raked in $20 million, and Yieldex, which took home $10 million.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management is backing Networked Insights, which began its life as a community platform for brands. It’s now focused on mining social media data in order to inform media planning. The idea is that instead of decisions based on qualitative data, media planners can direct money and craft strategy with the backing of hard data. Networked Insights plans to use the funds, in part, to expand its data sources, pulling in search, offline and other information. It  has now raised $29 million. CEO Dan Neely said the company wants to eventually go toe to toe with the likes of Nielsen and McKinnsey, both of which, he believes, use “antiquated models.”

Yieldex brought in $10 million in a round led by Triangle Peak Partners and Hearst Interactive Media. The company is one of several to focus on the publisher side of the equation, after many years of VCs arming the buy side disproportionately with tech tools. Yieldex is, unsurprisingly, focused on yield. Many publishers talk about it, but managing inventory, figuring out pricing and the like remains in many organizations more art than science. Like Networked Insights on the buy side, Yieldex wants to heavy up on the science. It has now raised $32 million.

What appears to be happening is many companies are arming themselve for the long consolidation that’s inevitably coming. There have been some pretty healthy funding rounds coming lately, including Clearspring getting $20 million and DoubeVerify taking $33 million. As one ad tech CEO explained to me, at a time of consolidation it’s better to have the bulk your competitors have — or more. The problem for many companies is the zombie issue. Too many companies will have inflated valuations, constricted growth potential and large cash reserves. That cocktail means they’ll be too big to be acquired but will also be too strong to fail or be forced into a merger.

The downside of that is the clutter problem of ad tech today. Nearly everyone in the industry agrees it’s too complicated and has too many players. The twist is they always think it’s some other guy that’s the problem.

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