Category Archives: Jeff Clavier

SocialMedia totals $4M in funding and is one of the top ad platforms for Facebook

Creating Facebook applications is already big business online. Facebook created a special fund to invest in popular applications for their social platform and there are also several venture capital firms who are keeping an eye on the sector for the next hot or modern Facebook application to invest in. Monetizing the traffic generated from those applications is another story. SocialMedia is one of the top so called ad platforms for Facebook applications.

SocialMedia offers a suite of tools and services for developers building applications that run on social networking platforms including Facebook and MySpace.

SocialMedia Network’s flagship product Appsaholic sells click-throughs to other Facebook applications across a network of affiliated sites in a similar way to FBExchange’s link exchange model, but has more features and seems easier to use and has PayPal integrated. Below is some more information on how Appsaholic works.

Developers become a member of the network by tracking their application on Appsaholic and adding some embed code to their application. The embed code adds an iFrame that serves paid links on their affiliates’ applications. The links go to the highest “AdRanked” advertising developer on their live bidding market. AdRank is determined by multiplying two factors, the offered price per click, and the advertising application’s quality score. The quality score is based on a function of the application’s clickthrough rate and viral growth within the network. The idea is that higher quality applications should be rewarded with cheaper advertising. This dissuades disliked apps from spamming the service.

So, for example, a developer whose application has a quality score of 60 and is willing to bid $.10 per click, has an AdRank of 6. Since ads are served in AdRanked order, the developer could boost his AdRank and position in the queue by bidding a bit higher. Currently PPC rates are 10 to 20 cents. Appsaholic takes 12-30% of that revenue.

The company has recently taken $3.5 million Series A in a round led by Charles River Ventures that also included Marc Andreessen (Netscape) and Jeff Clavier. Charles River Ventures had previously seed funded the company with $500,000. That took the company’s total funding to $4M. 

George Zachary of Charles River Ventures said that the investment “underscores the significant opportunity for SocialMedia Networks to become the new standard for how social networks are monetized.”

Other investors include Jim Bankoff – Former EVP Programming AOL; Ted Barnett – CEO of JamJam; co-founder and CEO of When.com; former COO of Ofoto; Jeff Clavier – Manager Director SoftTech VC; Marc Andreessen – Co-founder of Netscape and Ning.com; Mark Goldstein – CEO of LoyaltyLab.com; Naval Ravikant – Managing Director HitForge; author of VentureHacks; co-founder of Epinions; Tina Sharkey – Former SVP Social Media and Instant Messsaging, AOL, Former Group President Sesame Workshop Internet, co-founder iVillage and Jeremy Wenokur – Former VP Corp Dev, Google. 

There are several other startups claiming to be the top Facebook ad platform: Lookery, fbExchange, RockYou, and Cubics but SocialMedia is one of the early players when they launched their Appsaholic advertising network soon after F8.

Some people are a bit skeptical about companies like SocialMedia arguing that some of the popular social networks themselves can’t even really figure out a profitable way to monetize themselves, let alone third party small companies going to become the standard way to monetize social networks by putting ads and stuff in a widget.

Will they ever manage to make money? Maybe, maybe not. But the potential is huge, and if someone ever succeeds in that field, the Social Media seems in a pretty good position to be among the winners.

More about SocialMedia

SocialMedia Networks is the leading provider of social platform services. It fuses together three core features – management, marketing, and monetization – into a comprehensive package that advertisers and developers can use to grow awareness, and grow their applications on social platforms.

Socialmedia.com was registered in November of 1999. It has since sat idle, waiting patiently for the right time to emerge. Nearly eight years later, that time has come.

Moreso than ever before, people all over the world are being entertained by interacting with others online. What was once simple communication has truly evolved into social media. Until recently, however, the environments in which these increasingly rich interactions took place were controlled by a few, closed entities. This changed on May 24th when facebook welcomed thousands of developers to immerse themselves within their platform.

And so, on this day, socialmedia.com was unleashed.

SocialMedia was one of the first developers on the facebook platform, launching Food Fight and Happy Hour shortly after f8. To date, more than 10 million users have installed one of these applications.

The services we provide to others were born primarily of our own needs in developing and deploying our applications. Through our personal learnings and experiences, we are now determined to offer a similar set of services to all developers and advertisers who care to delve into the world of the facebook platform, and all other platforms that are destined to follow.

Tap into the social revolution with SocialMedia – the app network!

Public information available on SocialMedia claims 1,475,837 apps installed, thus far.

SocialMedia Networks is based in Palo Alto and Mill Valley, CA.

More

http://www.socialmedia.com
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/socialmedia
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/18/socialmedia-networks-takes-35-million-series-a/
http://apps.facebook.com/appsaholic
http://fbexchange.com/
http://www.lookery.com/
http://cubics.com/

Video advertising networks are hot, Brightroll gets its second round, claims it already served over 1 Billion video ads

After having covered the video ad networks BlackArrow and YuMe Networks today we have discovered that yet another one called Brightroll has also recently closed its Series B funding taking $5M more. The round was led by existing investor True Ventures with Adams Street Partners and KPG Ventures as new participants. The first round’s amount is not publicly disclosed.

The company offers both pre-roll and mid-roll ads and Brightroll contextually matches the ads based on webpage information, site behavior and demographics. Assessing tags, profiles and data from ComScore, Brightroll aims to provide publishers and advertisers targeted ads, where the publishers need to do very little work to this end.

BrightRoll helps leading agencies, representing brands such as Walmart, Hewlett-Packard and Sony Pictures, launch and scale video campaigns across the industry’s leading publishers. The one-year-old start-up will use the capital to continue to grow its agency and publisher relationships, as well as accelerate product development.

“Video advertising is the future of online marketing and we are exclusively focused on simplifying the process of targeting, distributing and executing online video campaigns,” said Tod Sacerdoti, co-founder and CEO of BrightRoll. “BrightRoll provides efficiency and technology to agencies today and we will continue to expand our solutions for agencies and brands moving forward.”

“We increased our investment in BrightRoll because the company is the emerging leader in a revolutionary category,” said Jon Callaghan, a partner at TRUE Ventures. “This is my third time working with the founders, Tod Sacerdoti and Dru Nelson, and I could not be more ecstatic about the team they are building.”

BrightRoll can execute video campaigns across more than 50% of the top 100 online media properties in the United States. The average BrightRoll video campaign reaches over 50 million unique users over a six week period. A video advertising innovator, BrightRoll is built entirely on proprietary video ad serving, targeting and optimization technology.

The market

Video advertising is promising to be huge opportunity online and the sector is extremely competitive with new players entering every couple of weeks. Venture capitals also do think the online video advertising holds the chances to be the next big thing on Internet to bring billions of revenues in and are pouring big money into start-ups with the hope they come up to the groundbreaking technology that might shake the sector and make them the huge ROI.   

No matter what standard for video ads the sector might adopt – pre-roll ads, mid-roll adspost-roll ads, watermark ads, viral ads or overlay ads, the undisputed leader remains Google’s YouTube with its huge number of eyeballs. That’s why the smaller players are focusing not on the reach but on different approaches and technologies to more effectively serve, track and measure these video ads. The video ads are in their infancy on Web and there is plenty of room for innovation and growth and all those small start-up companies hold their good chances for success.

Some companies, as we know them, include BlackArrow, BrightRoll, XillianTVPodaddies, VMIX and MeeVee. BrightRoll video ad network itself has raises $5 Million while VMIX, yet another video network company has also raised a whopping amount of money $16.5M to expand its business. Other video advertising players include Revver, VideoEgg’s TheEggNetwork, ScanScout, Adap.tv, AdBrite’s InVideo platform, BroadRamp and Blinkx.

eMarketer predicts online video advertising to nearly double in 2008 to $1.3 billion, but no one’s really nailed a scalable ad platform for video. However, Google’s been quietly testing their own system and there are a bunch of other startups tackling it as well.

More about BrightRoll

Led by a team of Internet advertising veterans and engineers, BrightRoll has served billions of advertisements since we got started. We achieved this growth by enabling agencies and brand advertisers to execute smart video ad campaigns across the industry’s leading publishers, including over half of the top 250 websites in the United States.

Dozens of advertising agencies work with BrightRoll to execute campaigns for their premier brands. By offering full site disclosure, detailed performance reports and flexible targeting, we provide advertisers with the reach, frequency, scalability, and transparency needed to achieve their goals.

Hundreds of branded publishers work with BrightRoll to maximize the value of their online inventory. We are fortunate to work with many of the Internet’s leading branded publishers, including multiple television properties, and most of the leading high-volume video sites.

The company was launched in 2005 and has offices in San Francisco and New York City. Founders are Tod Sacerdoti and Dru Nelson.

The Team

Tod M. Sacerdoti, CEO, Founder

Tod M. Sacerdoti is the Chief Executive Officer of BrightRoll and co-founded the business in July, 2006. Most recently, Tod was the Director of Revenue and Business Development at Plaxo, one of the fastest growing companies in the history of the Internet. Previously, Tod was the Director of Business Development at Spoke Software, an enterprise software firm providing tools to sales forces to better leverage relationships. Tod also worked at Interscope, Geffen and A&M Records, a division of the Universal Music Group and was an analyst in both the Mergers & Acquisitions Group and the Internet Corporate Finance group at Robertson Stephens. Tod has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has a B.A. in Economics from Yale University.

Dru Nelson, CTO; Founder

Dru Nelson is the Chief Technology Officer of BrightRoll and co-founded the business in July, 2006. Dru brings over twelve years of senior software development expertise to the company. Prior to BrightRoll, Dru was a Senior Software Engineer at Plaxo Inc. , where he was also the first Engineer hired and the first Client Engineer. Previously, Dru was the Director of Service Operations at eGroups (sold to Yahoo), Senior Software Engineer at Diva Systems (spinoff of SRI Research) and a Software Engineer at Four11 (sold to Yahoo and became Yahoo!Mail). Dru also has previous experience at the Florida State University Supercomputer Research Institute (SCRI).

Charlie Whittingham, Vice President, Sales

Charles Whittingham is the Vice President of Sales at BrightRoll and brings over 25 years experience in media, advertising and building Internet sales teams. Most recently, Charles was the Vice President of Sales, Western Region, for Advertising.com (a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL). Previously, he was Regional Vice President of Sales for About.com (owned by the New York Times), Regional Vice President of Sales for The Excite Network (owned by IAC/Interactive Corp.) and Executive Vice President, Sales Marketing at Wired Magazine. Prior to his Internet experience, he held senior positions as Director of New Business Development for advertising agencies McKinney & Silver and J. Walter Thompson, Southeastern Sales Director at The National Sports Daily and Sales Manager with People Magazine.

Lewis Rothkopf, Vice President, Network Development

Lewis is charged with broadening BrightRoll’s audience reach and enhancing client value by building strategic partnerships with the web’s top publishers. Prior to joining BrightRoll, lewis was Head of Distribution for the national Broadband Company (NBBC), NBC Universal’s digital video syndication business, where he was responsible for connecting premium digital video owners with the web’s premier publishers. Active in the digital media community for a decade, Lewis spent five years at DoubleClick Inc.’s TechSolutions for Publishers business, most recently as a sales and account management leader. He was at LightningCast Inc., one of the first video advertising companies, as a director of sales for the video ad insertion technology business, where he helped ready the company for acquisition by AOL LLC. In those capacities, he spearheaded technology and media solutions for numerous industry leaders, including AOL, Washington Post, Newsweek Interactive, Disney/ABC, Scripps, Networks, MTV Newworks, CBS Inc., Knight Ridder Digital, United Online, among many others. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Boston University and lives in Manhattan with his wife Nicole.

Calton Chan, Director of Sales, Eastern Region

Calton Chan is the Director of Sales, Eastern Region at BrightRoll and brings over 10 years experience in media, advertising and building Internet sales teams. Most recently, Calton was the Vice President of Agency Relations for ContextWeb, one of the leading contextual ad networks. Previously, he was Sales Director at The Excite Network (owned by IAC/Interactive Corp.) and Director of Sales for About.com (owned by the New York Times). Prior to his Internet experience, Calton worked in software sales for Autodesk. Calton has a B.A. in Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Mike Enomoto, Director, Media

Mike Enomoto is the Director of Media at BrightRoll and brings over eight years of managing media buying, ad ops, campaign management, and publisher relationships. Most recently Mike managed sales and distribution for Adteractive, one of the largest online lead generation marketers. At Adteractive, Mike was responsible for buying display media, creative and product strategy, and client development. Previously, he was the primary display media buyer for the Alena division of Intermix Media (acquired by News Corp) where he was responsible for all portal media relationships and campaign profitability. Mike began his career with MaxOnline (acquired by IAC / Interactive Corporation), one of the pioneering online ad networks. Mike has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

About the Investors

About TRUE Ventures

True Ventures invests in promising entrepreneurs at the earliest stages in the highest-growth segments of the technology market. The Partners at True have started over ten companies as founders, and True is designed by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. The firm clearly understands both opportunities and challenges in the earliest stage of development and provides young companies with a powerful, seasoned partner.

About KPG Ventures

KPG Ventures, a San Francisco based venture capital firm founded by Vince Vannelli, brings capital, experience and strategic relationships to early and seed stage companies. KPG is committed to investing in talented people and actively supporting each portfolio company in building their business.

Adams Street Partners, LLC

Adams Street Partners has been making investments in private equity since 1972 and is also credited with establishing the industry’s first institutional private equity fund of funds in 1979. Adams Street Partners has made over 140 investments with the objective of backing experienced management teams focused on high-growth markets. Investments are made primarily in companies in the technology, life sciences, and technology-enabled services sectors. Adams Street Partners currently manages $15 billion and has offices in Chicago, Menlo Park, London and Singapore.
 
Private investors include Jeff Clavier (SoftTechVC), Fabrice Grinda (Co-CEO, OLX and Founder, Zingy), Auren Hoffman (CEO, Rapleaf), Oliver Jung (Partner, Adinvest), Ariel Poler (Founder, Topica), Aydin Senkut (President, Felicis Ventures), Michael Tanne (CEO, Wink & Founder, AdForce), Colin Wiel (President, Keiretsu), Jeremy Wenokur (Former Corp. Dev., Google).

More

http://www.brightroll.com/
http://blog.brightroll.com/
http://www.brightroll.com/2007/10/23/brightroll-secures-5-million-in-venture-capital-funding/
http://www.brightroll.com/2007/10/24/brightroll-serves-1-billionth-video-advertisement/
http://mashable.com/2007/10/19/brightroll-funded/
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/02/10/yume-a-broadband-video-advertising-network-has-taken-16m-so-far-to-tackle-the-video-advertising/
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/02/09/blackarrow-took-12-million-to-tackle-the-video-advertising-relies-on-cable-companies/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/brightroll
http://www.todsacerdoti.com/

Edgeio closes doors after burning $5M in one year

In a final board meeting last evening Edgeio’s board members have decided to shut down operations of the company.

This failure is sort of symbolic for the Web 2.0 sector. Why? What Edgeio is interesting with? First off it has been co-founded by Michael Arrington from Techcrunch, an influential, probably the most, blog that is symbolic itself for the web 2.0 age and Arrington himself is the editor there and one of the most influential people on Web today, according many sources, including but not limited to Wired and Forbes. He is also mentoring, advising, consulting and probably brokeraging companies across the Silicon Valley and is generally well known technology evangelist. He expanded his Crunch Network with Crunchboard, Crunchgear and Mobilecrunch and is rapidly becoming the most influential journalist in the tech scene nowadays.

Aside Edgeio Michael Arrington is also having active participations in the following companies.

  • He is an investor in a stealth company called Daylife, based in New York.
  • He became an investor in Dogster on September 14, 2006
  • He is also an investor in Omnidrive since December 2006.
  • He is also an investor in Dancejam since the spring of 2007 and
  • An investor in Seesmic from November 2007, a video upstart launched by a French entrepreneur.

Aside Michael Arrington the company was also co-launched by Keith Teare and is said to be a great tool for bloggers and buyers alike. Using content from RSS-enabled sources, Edgeio is able to take millions of listings and categorize them in a central location. Early employees of Edgeio also include Vidar Hokstadt, Matt Kaufman and Fred Oliveira. Michael Arrington was not an executive but instead he served the company as a board of directors’ member.

Edgeio is all about edge publishing. It is Edgeio’s belief that services that try to restrict how users create and consume information cannot ultimately be successful. Users own their data, and services exist not to silo that data, but rather to add value to it. That is what Edgeio is setting out to do. Good mission. Simply put Edgeio will be focusing on classified listings of any type to start.

Blogs and other websites syndicating their content through RSS are an ideal place to post classified listings. Not only is the publisher in complete control of the content (what to include, when to change or update it, when to delete it and how to syndicate it for other services), but the website itself gives valuable context to readers of the listing. Unlike anonymous listing services, listings on blogs controlled by the publisher give readers an idea of who they are dealing with. That additional information is an important factor for readers in deciding if and how to interact with the publisher.

Very few blogs publish classified listings today. Most blogs have a relatively small group of readers, including friends and family, and are not able to effectively reach the larger audience needed to effectively market their listings.

That’s where Edgeio comes in. They promised to find edge published listings if they include the category or tag “listing” within the post or content. The listings will be indexed through the blog’s RSS feed and aggregated with other “listings from the edge”. Users of the Edgeio service will be able to search through listings and communicate directly with the publisher. Edgeio will also make aggregated listings available though a web service to other Internet sites and services that would like to include edge listings.

Edgeio promised to never attempt to silo or control publisher data, or restrict the ways that listings can be used by others.

The company has also launched a Chinese language version of its web site named mulu100.com (which in Chinese means catalog of catalogs). The Chinese service has initially formed a partnership with edeng.cn, a China based listings site, similar in many ways to craigslist.com.

Edgeio recieved $1.5 million in angel funds from the likes of Louis Monier, Frank Caufield, the RSS Investors Fund, Jeff Clavier, Ron Conway, Michael Tanne, Auren Hoffman, Sam Perry and Bill McCabe.

In October 2006 Edgeio Closed $5 Million Series A Funding led by Intel Capital and also included an investment from Transcosmos & Business Development Inc, a Japanese public company with a Silicon Valley investment arm focused on Internet-based U.S. technology companies expanding into the Japanese marketplace.

The company burned through that money according to plan, meaning they ran out this month. The product roadmap was fulfilled; meaning development lags didn’t hurt the company. No revenues came in and the user/partner milestones weren’t met and no one else was going to put more money into the company.

Employees will be let go but will be fully paid according Michael Arrington.

When being asked from a commenter on his blog what the company spent the money for Michael Arrington jokingly replied “parties, scotch, hookers, blow. You know the usual.”

The company seems to have failed even though Edgeio got a serious amount of coverage and in-context mentions on Techcrunch over the past years. All entries can be found over here: http://www.techcrunch.com/tag/edgeio

De-facto it also affects another initiative of Techcrunch the Crunchboard.com, which will also undergo restructuring in the next days as they say. 

Michael Arrington also has said ”it is unwise for a company to spend a lot of money building out infrastructure before a product proves itself as well as they always had problems with the PayPal API, which is a total piece of crap”

Here are some more interesting thoughts for food.

Advertising on TechCrunch is not cheap – $10,000 per month and Edgeio is known to have been an advertiser at TC for quite long period of time. The site was also used in TC’s job site www.crunchboard.com, which in our understanding did also cost money for the Edgeio. Having an influential company the rank of TechCrunch adopt and use your company’s services or products in our view is more expensive than having a banner rotating on the TC’s blog network.

The company was recently caught (September 2007) to be spamming Bloggers, which was even criticized by Arrington himself calling it ”Bad Idea”.

It is really interesting to see how things in SV tend to work. You have an idea, find an angel or two, prepare for the series A funding, raise the money, give it a try, if it work things out fine, if not then also fine, you close shop, go home, take some rest and try again later with another start up.

Indeed the company looks very good and healthy to us. Well done technology, good idea/concept, good numbers, was well funded, high-profile people involved and engaged and beyond. Quantcast reports for over 150,000 unique visitors from US alone while Compete is showing very healthy number of visitors – 348,797. Edgeio has access to over 100 million listings in 1,484,953 cities and 166 countries, 9,190,705 listings from 1,405 edge-direct feeds and 2,736 listings from 134 Classified Boards.

So what went wrong?

Why the company did not take a series B round of funding or tried to sell itself before crashing down? The business plan to start generating revenues was too pushful and unrealistic, in less than one year after funding? The company seems to have been given with less than a year to break-even? By contrast I remember another company that got coverage on Techcrunch Mahalo, started out by Jason Calacanis and was said that the company is having enough money to survive for at least 5 years without making any money at all. The company could have even been sold or profitably liquidated in one way or another and not simply closed.

So is there anything behind the scene that the public is not aware of?

Well, the very simple conclusion we can draw here is that a company success is not always guaranteed solely by who the investors or founders are… The DNA of the success with a company probably lies somewhere else and is a complex of factors, interests and events. 

Via

[ http://www.edgeio.com ]
[ http://wiki.edgeio.com/display/ExternalWiki/Home ]
[ http://blog.edgeio.com/2006/10/23/series-a-financing-china-web-site-and-patent-filing/ ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/06/edgeio-to-shut-down-in-the-deadpool/ ]
[ http://www.crunchbase.com/company/edgeio ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/30/edgeio-spams-bloggers-bad-idea/ ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/tag/edgeio ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/10/24/edgeio-closes-5-million-series-a-financing/ ]
[ http://venturebeat.com/2006/10/23/edgeio-gets-5-million-to-expand-web-20-classifieds-site/ ]
[ http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2006/10/edgeio_has_been.html?campaign_id=rss_blog_blogspotting ]
[ http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2006/10/24/edgio-gets-5-million-in-vc-money/ ]
[ http://www.quantcast.com/edgeio.com ]
[ http://siteanalytics.compete.com/edgeio.com/?metric=uv ]
[ http://www.zoominfo.com/Search/CompanyDetail.aspx?CompanyID=49351685&cs=QGC8QwFIE&pc=compete ]
[ http://rexdixon.wordpress.com/2006/10/24/edgeio-secures-5-million ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/about-techcrunch/ ]
[ http://www.crunchboard.com/ ]
[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Arrington ]
[ http://www.teare.com/category/keith-teare/edgeio ]