LaunchBit, a startup aiming to bring a smarter approach to email advertising, has raised a $960,000 seed round of funding.
Co-founder Elizabeth Yin is a former Googler, and she has compared LaunchBit to Google AdWords — it’s a self-serve model that allows advertisers to identify their target demographic and bid on ad impressions in email newsletters.
I last wrote about LaunchBit when it left private beta in February. Since then, Yin says the company has created a self-serve product for publishers, too, called NewsletterDirectory. Publishers can paste some HTML into their email templates to start running LaunchBit ads, then track their results on the NewsletterDirectory website. They can also bring up a list of the ads that will potentially show up in their newsletter and remove the ones they don’t like.
“This wouldn’t work on the web, because there’s a continuous flow of traffic going to a given website and so, ads are changing all the time,” Yin says. “But email gets sent at distinct times.”
As for the funding, it comes from 500 Startups (where LaunchBit was incubated), Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s VegasTech Fund, TriplePoint Capital, Bruno Bowden (ex-Google), Andrew Chen, David Hauser (Grasshopper Group), Siamak Taghaddos (Grasshopper Group), Yee Lee (One Jackson, Katango), Srini Panguluri (Tagstand, Project Wedding), and Omar Seyal (Tagstand).
And, as you might guess from the presence of the VegasTechFund on that list, LaunchBit is planning to move from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas in the fall. Yin says that she and her co-founder Jennifer Chin both grew up in the Valley, but adds, “We’ve bought into the vision of Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project and are excited about where Vegas is headed.”
LaunchBit is an ad platform for email.
500 Startups is an early-stage seed fund and incubator program located in Mountain View, CA. They invest primarily in consumer & SMB internet startups, and related web infrastructure services. Their initial investment size is typically $25K-$250K. Selected areas of interest include financial services & e-commerce, search/social/mobile platforms, personal & business productivity, education & language, family & healthcare and web infrastructure.
Elizabeth Yin is co-founder and CEO of LaunchBit. She frequently speaks at conferences and events and has previously spoken at Women 2.0 partner events, Web 2.0, Lean Startup events, TechStars, MIT, Stanford, Yale, and Babson among others. Prior to LaunchBit, she built profitable niche websites and previously worked as a product marketing manager at Google. She holds a BS in electrical engineering from Stanford and an MBA from MIT Sloan.
Tony originally got involved with Zappos as an advisor and investor in 1999, about 2 months after the company was founded. Over time, Tony ended up spending more and more time with the company because it was both the most fun and the most promising out of all the companies that he was involved with. He eventually joined Zappos full time in 2000. Under his leadership, Zappos has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000 to $840M in...