Toronto-based advertising startup Chango closed a $1.4 million Series A funding, with new investors Metamorphic Ventures and privately from Geoff Judge, a VC at iNovia Capital and co-founder of 24/7 Real Media. Last November, the company raised the first $750,000 of the Series A from iNovia Capital and Extreme Venture Partners.
Chango is an ad platform that targets display ads based on people’s previous search history. It is what is known as a “search retargeter.” Unlike other ad retargeters like Criteo who show ads to people based on the fact that they have visited a particular Website, Chango targets ads based on the searches those people have done in the past.
The way it does this is by buying up browser cookie data from data exchanges, toolbar companies, and vertical comparison shopping sites. This data is commercially available for hundreds of millions of people on the Web. When you click through to a site from a search engine, that site captures the referral data, along with the search terms that brought you there. Sites often resell this data along with identifying cookies. When you show up at a site with Chango ads, it matches the cookie on your browser with what it knows about your search history and tries to serve up relevant display ads.
In effect, what Chango does is open up display advertising to search marketers. “We’ve just launched in private beta,” says founder and CEO Chris Sukornyk. “We are still selecting which advertisers we are working with, and will probably launch a self-serve option later this month.”
Sukornyk is a serial entrepreneur with a mixed track record. Previously he co-founded the X-Stream Network (a free ISP in Europe sold to LibertySurf for $75 million), Bubbleshare (photo-sharing site sold to Kaboose for a couple million dollars, and then deadpooled), and FiveLimes (a green shopping site sold to Avid Life Media, which now appears to be defunct).