Native Ad Startup Nativo Raises $3.5M Round Led By Greycroft

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Nativo, a startup aiming to make it easy for online publishers to run sponsored content, and for advertisers to distribute that content, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding.

I covered the company last year under its old name, PostRelease. Despite the name change, the vision remains the same — publishers add some code to their site and create a template for sponsored content, advertisers upload their content, then it’s displayed across relevant sites and formatted to match the look of each site. Plus, the ads work on desktop computers, smartphones and tablets.

By calling itself Nativo, the company is embracing one of the big buzzwords right now, native advertising. Its ads have always been native — in the sense that they’re formatted to look like regular content on the site (though to be clear, they’re labeled as sponsored). Now, however, there’s a lot more excitement and competition around the idea. CEO Justin Choi said there are definitely more companies talking about native advertising, but he argued, “There’s some marketplace confusion about what native is.”

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“To us, native is not only placed within the content stream, but the engagement with that content is the same as engagement with non-advertising content on that site,” he added.

Choi also said that Nativo will have some big publisher- and ad-agency-related news coming soon.

As for the funding, it was led by led by Greycroft Partners, with participation from e.ventures and Signia Venture Partners. Nativo previously raised $1.8 million from Signia and various angel investors.

“Given our close relationship with publishers, we knew that native advertising was emerging as a major advertising category, and we were looking for interesting companies in this space,” Greycroft managing director Alan Patricof said in the funding press release. “We were very impressed with the technology and traction that the Nativo team had already generated.”