AdStage Raises $6.25M To Bring Its Cross-Network Ad Platform To The Masses

AdStage, a startup whose co-founder and CEO Sahil Jain said he plans on “bringing a real SaaS model to the ad tech space,” is announcing that it has raised a $6.25 million Series A.

The company debuted at last year’s Launch conference, promising customers an easy way to create ads that run across Google, Bing, Facebook and LinkedIn. Later that year, AdStage announced a broader platform to extend the core product’s capabilities by integrating with outside tools and with apps created by AdStage itself.

In addition to the funding, the company is also announcing a new addition to that platform — the Automated Rules app. These rules allow advertisers to dictate how their campaigns will change (by, say, adjusting the budget or the bids) to adapt to varying circumstances. Jain (who’s wearing the black T-shirt in the photo above) characterized the app as AdStage’s first move towards real automation, albeit automation that gives advertisers a great deal of flexibility.

“Every campaign is different,” he said. “A generic algorithm just doesn’t really work.”

automated rules

AdStage says that more than 10,000 businesses (including tech companies New Relic and Zenefits) have signed up, linking up more than 20,000 linked ad accounts and, over the past three months, spending $25 million on their AdStage-managed campaigns.

Despite that growth, the product is technically still in beta testing. The plan, Jain said, is to take that beta label off in the next few months. It sounds like the company is still figuring out exactly what will change when that happens, but one thing that will definitely be evolving is AdStage’s business model.

The company currently charges $99 a month, and Jain plans to add more pricing tiers, particularly for larger companies. At the same time, he said he doesn’t want the plans to become overly complicated and he was emphatic that AdStage will stick to subscription fees, rather than charging a percentage of money on ad campaigns.

That might sound like a minor distinction, but Jain argued that only a software-as-a-service model will appeal to smaller businesses and “make sense for the masses.” Plus, it forces AdStage to remain focused on building a true self-serve product, rather than taking on a lot of custom work for big advertisers.

The Automated Rules app actually helps with this approach, he added, because it gives AdStage a new way to quickly assist customers — instead of going through a long customer service call, account managers can just go into customer accounts and suggest new rules that might improve their campaigns.

The new round brings AdStage’s total funding to $8.78 million. It was led by Verizon Ventures and Digital Garage, with additional investment from Newbury Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Chris Noble, and Neal Dempsey of Bay Partners.