Cisco Backs Video Ad Startup Innovid In New $10M Round

Innovid, a startup that helps advertisers create, target, and measure video ad campaigns, is announcing that it has raised $10 million in new funding.

As part of the round, the startup is bringing on Cisco Investments as a new investor. (Previous backers such as Genesis Partners, Sequoia Capital, and T-Venture also participated.) Innovid and Cisco were already working together on the technology side — for example, I wrote last year about their collaboration to pull keywords from TV shows, allowing cable companies to target ads in their smartphone and tablet apps.

In discussing the funding, Innovid co-founder and CEO Zvika Netter pointed to the broader convergence of television and digital video, which will be accelerated by things like the rollout of Google Fiber and Apple new web TV service, reportedly coming this fall.

How is Innovid going to stand out in this landscape? Netter mentioned some specific features, like its interactive ads and its integration with Roku’s Internet TV devices. But he mostly focused on a bigger theme that he said sets the company apart.

Innovid, he said, made “a strategic decision to never get into media — we’re focused on technology and technology innovation.” Now, there are plenty of other ad tech companies that get directly involved with ad buying, and Netter said Innovid works with some of them. But he also suggested that it’s important for his team to focus on the tech, particularly since “the industry is moving extremely fast.”

Plus, he noted that there are a lot of “gray areas” in online video advertising, for example with issues like viewability and fraud. Netter didn’t accuse anyone in particular of trying to deceive advertisers, but he suggested that if you’re making money based on ad spend, it’s tougher to take a hard line against dodgy practices because you know that “at the end of the day, there’s going to be less money going through your pipes.”

“Our positioning is media agnostic,” he added. “We don’t make less money whether there’s fraud or not.”

Innovid has now raised a total of $37.6 million in funding.