Coull, the video advertising network, has closed of a $2m equity round led by Peter Hargreaves (co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown). That is a sizeable chuck of cash for one guy, but Hargreaves is famously known as an investor who does not follow the pack, instead going with businesses with proven traction.
Coull has avoided VC route because, as CEO and founder Irfon Watkins says, “it’s too long winded and you get conservative valuations within UK. I chose angel investment as opposed to VC because they had cash and experience with friendly legal terms.” Alas, it’s a view often espoused by UK startups, although the VCs argue back that they are often restricted by their funds from taking on risk. The debate continues…
Meanwhile, in contrast to Flash overlay ads, Coull’s technology lets publishers and advertisers tag individual products within videos, making it possible to click through and buy products right from the video. Here’s an example of the kind of thing they do. Coull is also a Google Affiliate Network partner.
It’s interesting that Coull has been doing this for a while, even as new startups like Wirewax bite at their heels.
Recently Coull started to charge only charge for user engagement with the video, which is unusual in this sector, which is known for charging for anything done with the video. That means budgets get spent on objectives and not just impressions.
The company counts Steve Brown, co-founder of buy.at on its board. Buy.at did a successfull exit to AOL a while back.
Advertisers such as Nike, Renault, Unilever and Agent Provocateur are already users in Europe.