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Ad Tech Startup C1X Raises $5.1M

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C1X is announcing that it has raised $5.1 million in Series A funding.

Founder and CEO Mukundu Kumaran spent seven years as an engineering director at Yahoo. He said that during that time, he saw the complexity of the ad-tech industry, and now his vision at C1X is “to simplify how the basic advertising transaction works.”

For advertisers, the company (whose name stands for “class one exchange”) offers self-serve access to the ad inventory of around 2,500 websites. C1X helps them target the audience they’re looking for across those sites, or it can generate a media plan based on the advertisers’ goals and specifications. To achieve those goals, it uses a hybrid model that combines direct and auction-based programmatic buying.

“Buying the inventory from the publisher directly and overlaying audience on top of it, that’s the key piece most of the buyers are looking for,” Kumaran said.

He added this approach makes the process simpler for both the advertiser and the publisher. He also emphasized its “complete transparency.”

“When we work with the publisher and say, ‘What’s the rate card?’ we show the exact same price to the agency,” he said. “There’s no middleman, no SSP.”

The funding was led by University of Tokyo Edge Capital, with participation from Innovative Venture Fund (the joint fund of NEC and Sumitomo Mitsui Bank), Mobile Internet Capital, Japanese media company Mynavi, ad agencies and angel investors. That might seem like a lot of Japanese investors for a Silicon Valley company, but C1X also has offices in Japan and India (not to mention New York City), with plans for continued growth in those countries, and across Southeast Asia.