Sequoia-Backed Widgetbox Rebrands As Flite, Raises $12M For Rich Media Ad Serving Platform

Flite (formerly Widgetbox) has raised $12 Million in Series C funding led by General Catalyst Partners with existing investors Sequoia Capital, Hummer Winblad and NCD Investors participating in the round. This brings Flite’s total funding to $27 million.

Along with the funding, Widgetbox is rebranding itself as Flite. Since 2006, Widgetbox has built a name for itself by creating web widgets to aggregate content and increase engagement. The company then began building and distributing mobile web apps for the iPhone and Android.

And Widgetbox launched ClickTurn, which allows publishers to easily create dynamic ads with multiple tabs that include content from YouTube, Twitter and Facebook streams. Now, Widgetbox is rebranding as Flite, emphasizing the focus on the company’s rich-media ad platform.

Flite provides brands and publishers with a ad-serving and creation platform for rich-media advertisements. The platform allows advertisers and publishers to deliver real-time, interactive display ads, which CEO Will Price likens to the iAd format. Price says that Flite’s ads are focused on engaging users with rich-media formats

Specifically, Flite’s tools create rich media ads with little to no technical knowledge, allows users to dynamically update campaigns in realtime, integrates third-party data into ads, and incorporates social content into ads. Flite’s ad formats are also compatible with mobile devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and Android.

More than one hundred and twenty leading brands have used the Flite platform to deliver
their brand experiences across the Web. Flite, which faces competition from Google’s DoubleClick platform, has helped serve twenty-five billion units with more than one hundred and twenty million monthly uniques, and fifty-five million unique daily events captured by Flite’s metrics system. Flite’s publishing partners include LinkedIn, Forbes, Yahoo, CBS Interactive, TechCrunch and brands like Microsoft, L’Oreal, Charles Schwab and Toyota.

Flite is probably wise to transition the focus of its business to its ad-serving platform. While $1 billion of the $7.4 billion display ad market involves rich media ads, this sector is rapidly growing. Advertisers are demanding a more customized feel to campaigns and are expecting a higher audience engagement as rich media ads evolve.

The funding will be used for product development and to hire additional staff.