Beezag Raises $2.5 Million, Force-Feeds Video Ads In Exchange For Cash

An old idea applied to a whole new generation and its bag of fresh tools. That’s how you could describe Beezag, a service from the eponymous New York startup, that was launched in private beta a couple of months ago.

Dubbed a ‘real-time targeted video advertising service’ by the company, Beezag’s business model is basically to force-feed young adults with video ads in exchange for cash and coupons (which is not to say it won’t work; more on that later).

And they’ve just raised over $2.5 million (on top of an earlier $750k founding round) from a group of angel investors, so time for us to take a closer look.

Currently, the only way to get in to Beezag is to have an invite code or exercise some patience after signing up for the waiting list. Once you get in, you’ll get a bracelet with a PIN sent to you and you’re supposed to let the company know more about what interests you the most. Based on your profile, Beezag will then start offering you selected coupons, rewards and discounts, straight from advertisers.

In addition, registered users get video advertising sent to their iPhones or Facebook accounts based on their profiles, and every time they watch ads completely, their iTunes or PayPal accounts get a little bigger. The way Beezag makes sure users pay enough attention to the video ads is by adding floating digits to the stream which users have to enter on the site to get the dollars.

In the future, more mobile and even interactive TV platforms will be added to the fray.


Now, call me crazy, but I actually think this might work out well considering the startup’s target audience: 18 to 24-year olds (generally strapped for cash but flush with enough free time to watch ads). Of course, a lot will depend on the actual pay-out rates, but according to the company clients like Dr. Pepper, Dentyne, Starbucks Shop, Skull Candy and Mandee have already signed up for campaigns.

It’s also worth pointing out that the two co-founders of Beezag, Richard Smullen and Laurent Alhadeff, have managed to convince two very savvy people to join the management team: six-year Google vet and former Lime Wire business development exec Brian Dick (as Chief Revenue Officer) and former-Upoc/Dada Entertainment CEO/CTO Steven Spencer (as Chief Operating Officer).

The fresh financing round comes from Bruellan Wealth Management (Geneva), whose MD Antoinne Spillmann led the round on behalf of clients that included four undisclosed angel investors.