Visible Measures Gets $21.5M More for Data-Based Video Ad Platform
The latest Boston-area tech company to join the $50 million-plus-in-venture-funding crowd is Visible Measures.
The video analytics and advertising startup has just raised $21.5 million from DAG Ventures, Advance Publications, General Catalyst, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Northgate Capital, and new investor Common Fund. Visible Measures now has well over $60 million under its financing belt, so it should be considered one of Boston’s biggest technology bets.
Visible Measures also has one of the more compelling growth stories around. The company started in 2005 and has been building video analytics technologies for advertisers and publishers. “It’s taken longer than I thought, but we’ve gotten farther than I anticipated,” says founder and CEO Brian Shin. For each of the past two years, the company has had greater than 300 percent revenue growth, he says.
And in that time, Visible Measures has tripled its staff to more than 100 employees, including expanding its sales team from one person to 30. Shin says the company could be looking at an IPO in the next two years. Which sounds a bit like one of Visible’s peer companies in the Boston area, HubSpot. “Hubspot and us grew up together,” Shin says. “We have a similar belief that marketing can be done differently, in a way that’s more content-centric.”
You can think of what Visible Measures does as sort of analogous to Google Analytics and AdSense for publishers and Google AdWords for advertisers— specifically for video, and based on objective data about what kinds of content people watch, and therefore what kinds of ads to show them. The company has built up a pretty big customer base on both sides, with publishers like Condé Nast and brand advertisers like P&G, Ford, and Microsoft.
According to Shin, Visible has “data that no one else has, insights that no one else could have, and a way to optimize advertising in a way no one else could do.” Its competitors might disagree, but Shin says the ad sector has “a lot of people claiming to do different things” and “a lot of black-box, smoke and mirrors” stuff. “We’re a completely different species from anyone else in advertising,” he contends.
The future looks bright too, if you believe the reports that say video advertising is the fastest-growing segment online. (Banners are falling, while paid search seems to be holding steady.) What’s more, in terms of advertising, “video is growing more dramatically than mobile,” Shin says.
Today’s news touches on a few broader themes as well. One is that there hasn’t been a lot of funding in the video-ad sector lately. Two is that everything you watch or do online is being tracked and used by somebody. Three is that Visible Measures is yet another tech company that has been working on “big data” without calling it that.
I asked Shin for the most surprising trend he’s privy to about online video use. “People choose to watch advertiser-related content billions of times a month,” he says. “The biggest surprise is how much people seek out brand content. Users want good content from brands.”