The company was founded by Michael Avon, Tom MacIsaac, Steve McCord and Joey McCord (pictured above). Three of the four co-founders previously worked together at mobile ad company Millennial Media, where Avon was chief financial officer, Steve McCord led technology and Joey McCord led product. (AOL, which also owns TechCrunch, acquired Millennial last fall.)
Avon is ICX’s CEO, and he explained that the company aims to address some of the big challenges facing the current generation of digital media creators.
“It’s very easy now, just to post a video on YouTube or Facebook, but it’s very difficult to actually find an audience for that video in a sea of content,” he said. Avon also compared the current landscape of online video creators to the app developers who worked with Millennial — the vast majority, he said, had “no idea how to monetize their content,” and in essence outsized the monetization process to Millennial and its competitors.
So he sees ICX fulfilling a similarly important role for those creators, primarily by helping them find media companies and brands who can help promote and monetize their videos. And from the other side, those publishers and brands are hungry for video content, and they might be looking to syndicate a creator’s existing videos or to commission something new.
In some ways, the description sounds similar to marketing companies (such as Twitter-acquired Niche) that connect brands with social media influencers. However, Avon said he sees those services as possible partners rather than competitors.
“We look at marketing as just as piece of what we do,” he said. “Again, what we’ll likely do is partner with one or more players out there. We see this as an end-to-end platform for helping the creator find collaborators.”During our conversation, Avon repeatedly emphasized the comprehensiveness of the ICX platform, as well as the data and analytics that it provides to creators. And when he talks about working with video creators, you might be thinking of big YouTube stars, but he said, “That’s probably the type of star that we’re least focused on right now.”
“We’re looking at the thousands, the tens of thousands of independent creators who either want to be YouTube stars, Facebook or Amazon stars, who need to find an audience, who are at the very early stage,” Avon said. And while he’s not claiming that he can turn every one of them into big celebrities, he said ICX can help them grow their audience and make a living.
The funding was led by Phil Herget, former co-managing partner of Columbia Capital, with participation from a long list of angel investors, including Vubiquity CEO Darcy Antonellis; former Neustar executives Jeff Ganek, Robert Poulin and Mark Foster; and AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley.