TripleLift Raises $4M Round Led By True Ventures To Turn Brand Images Into Native Ads

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Ad startup TripleLift is announcing that it has raised $4 million in Series A funding.

The company’s founders have said that they’re trying to help advertising catch up with “the rise of the visual web” by taking brand images and turning them into ads. The company says its advertisers have included Gap, General Mills, Kohler, and Nissan.

“We’re finding that brands are creating a lot of beautiful images to communicate with their customers,” co-founder and CEO Eric Berry told me via email. “A lot of this is for microsites or campaigns that they create, in addition to for assets created for social media.”

He added that regardless of where those images were posted, TripleLift will use the ones that the advertiser “believes most effectively speaks to their audience.” It can also optimize the ads in different locations based on which images are most effective.

When I first wrote about the startup a year ago, it was creating standard banner ads. Now its focus has shifted to native ads that automatically match the look of publisher websites. In fact, Berry said TripleLift is building “the industry-first purely [real-time bidding]-based native exchange.”

“We see this funding round helping TripleLift move the web away from banner awards towards beautiful, image-centric native ads,” he added. “Because our native advertising is so heavily dependent on technologies like computer vision and dynamic templating, we’re investing heavily in engineers and analysts, as well as the significant amount of hardware required to actually enable the technology.”

The Series A was led by True Ventures, with participation from iNovia Captial, NextView Ventures, MESA+, Liberty City Ventures, Social Starts, Laconia Ventures, the Social Internet Fund, and others. True also invested in TripleLift’s $2.1 million seed round — Berry said other investors were interested, but “True has been an amazing partner to date and has been incredibly supportive of our vision and of us as entrepreneurs.”