Run, Olapic, Maker’s Row Find Funding in Mobile Ad Tech, E-Commerce
New York-based ad technology company Run said late last week it raised $1.5 million from Verizon Ventures, the funding arm of Verizon Communications. This is one of several recent deals garnered by local startups across a variety of industries.
Run developed a management platform for serving ads on mobile devices, video, and desktop computers. The backing from Verizon is Run’s first outside funding, says the startup’s co-founder and chief operating officer Dan Schwartz. “If you’re a mobile-focused ad tech company, who would you rather be strategically aligned than Verizon?” he asks.
Schwartz believes there might be opportunities for Run to collaborate with various business units of Verizon, though no talks along those lines are underway. Run also has its eye on the ad market for other Web-connected devices including televisions. Schwartz says the company plans to make new hires to expand its staff of 20 by year’s end.
Schwartz says his startup developed its platform, which also provides analytics, at a time when only niche ad-tech companies were interested in mobile. “The big players in real-time bidding have historically been focused on [Web advertising for the] desktop and are now beginning to take a look at mobile,” he says. Run, in contrast, began with mobile and is applying its technology to other sectors. Schwartz believes there will be other types of connected devices his company’s platform can serve, beyond TVs. “We think of automobiles as connected devices,” he says.
Ad technology is not the only sector in New York to see funding deals of late.
—Olapic said last week it raised $5 million in a Series A round led by Fung Capital USA and Longworth Venture Partners. Scout Ventures and Great Oaks Venture Capital also participated in the round. Olapic developed a crowdsourcing platform that curates user-generated videos and images for use on e-commerce pages. The platform collects publicly shared content from Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that has been marked with hashtags associated with retail brands. For example, if a consumer openly shares a photo of a new pair of shoes he or she purchased, it could be detected by Olapic’s software. Consumers can also upload content through the platform to e-commerce sites.
—Domestic manufacturing continues to seek a revival in the digital age. In mid-July, Maker’s Row raised a $1 million seed round led by Comcast Ventures and Index Ventures, with participation from angel investors Joanne Wilson and Alexis Ohanian. Founded last summer, Maker’s Row is an online marketplace that connects small and midsize businesses (such as apparel designers) with American manufacturers.