Honeycomb, a TV and video ad management startup from Adstream founders, scores £3M Series A

Honeycomb, a TV and video ad management platform founded by James Carpenter and Richard Carter, who both previously founded Adstream, has raised £3 million in Series A funding. It follows a £1 million “friends and family” round in May this year.

Leading the Series A is U.K. and U.S.-based VC Beringea, along with a number of individuals from the worlds of television and advertising. The latter includes David Bell (a senior adviser to AOL and Verizon, and former Senior Advisor to Google), Richard Jameson (the former CFO of brand services company Tag-worldwide), and John Spearman (Chairman of visual effects company Framestore).

Officially launched in August, Honeycomb’s platform streamlines the process of TV and video ad delivery by automating elements of the submission process, which typically involves a lot of tedious data entry. I’m told that this results in numerous steps between the creative industries or post production houses and ads appearing on TV.

But by utilising Honeycomb’s tech, creative agencies and post production houses can submit content in about half of the time or less, while the possibility of human error is reduced significantly.

“The process of getting a TV or video advert from the creative agency, post production house or similar, all the way to a broadcaster or online publisher is painful,” says Honeycomb’s Carpenter. “There could be 30 steps in the process, across email, phone and even fax, all with the potential for human error. It’s slow, frustrating and expensive. Not only that, it hinders quality”.

Honeycomb’s other key selling point is that, unlike leading competitors, including Carpenter and Carter’s former company Adstream, it charges the same amount for HD or SD content, meaning that advertisers don’t need to compromise picture quality.

“Our competitors charge an inflated fee for High Definition content, and that’s per destination they send the content to, which can add up,” says Carpenter. “As a result, creative agencies and their clients sometimes opt for Standard Definition versions of their advert, which can look poor when sandwiched between HD TV programmes”.

However, in addition to automating elements of the submission process, the data sharing part of Honeycomb’s platform also lays the groundwork for the startup’s much more ambitious plans and, along with the track record of Honeycomb’s founders, is likely what attracted its VC backers. That is, the company wants to help usher in so-called programmative TV in the next two to three years.

Explains Carpenter: “This as yet unrealised ‘holy grail’ of TV advertising will allow media buyers to purchase TV ads based on audience data, rather than relying on ratings of individual shows and channels. We work with partners on the agency and broadcaster side to make sure that all interests are well covered. Our system allows that the adverts can be delivered basically fully automated to the ‘publisher’ with all the necessary metadata and then can be inserted in the matching media buckets with the right audience”.