French video adTech startup Teads, which sells technology allowing publishers to embed video ads within articles that automatically play when they become visible on the user’s screen, has closed a $5.2 million Series A round, with backing from Partech Ventures (also an investor in Dailymotion) and Elaia Partners.
Pascal Gauthier, formerly COO of adTech company Criteo (which counts Elaia as an investor), is joining Teads as an independent administrator. The Series A close was confirmed today on Teads’ blog. The startup had previously raised €300,000 from seed investors/private angel investors, back in 2011 when it was founded.
Teads, which has gained the most traction in the French and U.K. markets up to now, said it will use the new funding to prepare itself for more international expansion. It told TechCrunch it plans to expand its presence in the U.S. on both coasts in calendar year 2014.
“This Series A investment will double the size of the R&D department and strengthen the international development of Teads’ video advertising platform,” the startup said today.
“Supported by experts in digital advertising (Pascal Gauthier, former COO of Criteo, has joined us), our goal is to become the world leader in Out-Stream video formats,” it added.
Publisher brands Teads already counts as customers include Le Monde, Le Figaro, Financial Times, Forbes, The Economist, The Guardian, El Mundo, La Repubblica and Reuters.
Teads InRead video ad format allows publishers to tap into video ad revenue streams without having to create their own editorial video content to host pre-roll ads — thereby allowing what is generally considered to be a rather cash-strapped sector to side-step the cost and effort required to produce large amounts of their own video content yet still tap into video ad-based revenue streams. (It calls this more scalable approach — in terms of serving out premium video ad inventory — “outstream” vs “instream” video ad offerings, such as pre-roll.)
InRead embeds start playing automatically when they are visible enough (50%+) on the screen. The sound is switched on if the user mouses over the ad. Once a minimum amount of the ad has been viewed that triggers CPV billing. Teads said its video ad formats can run across many forms of content including articles, home pages, slideshows, music, video and social media pages.
Continued growth in online users’ appetite for video content has helped power demand for video advertising. Just yesterday Facebook announced it would be bringing video to its mobile app install ads to make them more appealing to advertisers, and more engaging to users, for instance. The decline in CPMs on digital display ads — not to mention the decline in user click-throughs rates on these older generation online ad formats — have also helped drive interest in video advertising.
Teads is positioning itself to capitalise on video’s online momentum, and support its publisher customer base in bridging their digital revenue gaps. “The market for online video advertising is booming and Teads will be able to effectively support TV advertisers to invest in digital and help publishers better monetizes their inventory,” noted Gauthier in a statement.
Teads InRead ad format launched a year ago, and is now deployed in more than 30 countries, by more than 500 publishers, it said today.
Teads added that its proprietary platform is capable of delivering billions of video impressions per month, and allows for real-time processing and analysis of collected data.
Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Jean-Marc Patouillaud, partner at Partech Venture, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to follow Teads in its international deployment. We were instantly impressed with the disruptive monetization technology offered by Teads, which favorably answers the market’s expectations, both from the publisher’s and the advertiser’s point of view.”
In terms of competitors, on the video ad format side Teads names the likes of Innovid and Ad Rime. For next-gen video adserving, it says rivals include Videoplaza and Auditude. While on the video SSP and Private Exchange side, competitors include LiveRail and SpotXchange.