Clinch raises $3M for personalized video ads

Clinch aims to create video ads personalized for each viewer, and it’s raised $3 million to bring that technology to the United States.

It’s not the only personalized video ad technology on the market, but CEO Oz Etzioni argued, “Nobody is doing what we’re doing.” By that, he means that Clinch’s ostensible competitors started out in display advertising before moving into video, and are still limited to approaches like personalized overlays on linear videos.

To be clear, Clinch also started out by personalizing display ads, but Etzioni said that was just to gather data — the goal was always to move into video, where he said, “What we’re doing is actually intervening with the linear video.” That means it’s not just a standard video ad with some lightweight personalization on top, but rather “literally unlimited versions” of an ad that can be tailored based on location, device, interests and more.

Etzioni also noted that Clinch isn’t trying to get involved in the buying or selling of any ads. Instead, it’s just providing the technology to digital ad companies and agencies, allowing them create personalized ads and optimize campaigns based on which variations are proving most effective.

Speaking of competition, Clinch recently hired Boaz Cohen as its chief product officer and head of business development. Cohen was previously senior vice president of biz dev at personalized video company Eyeview — he said he was impressed by Clinch’s initial campaigns and clients (while the company is headquartered in New York, its first campaigns ran in Latin America and Asia, with clients including Walmart and AT&T), and by its “commitment to dynamic personalization, especially on Facebook.”

In fact, Clinch is currently participating in the Facebook Marketing API Accelerator. Etzioni said Clinch can already deliver personalized videos to Facebook, but by participating in the accelerator, he’s hoping to create “a very unique solution to be able to dynamically change and target videos.”

Etzioni said the Series A funding should help Clinch expand its U.S. sales team. (The R&D team is based in Israel.) The round was led by Richard Gati, head of BXR Partners’ Singapore office.