isocket Secures $8m Series A led by Foundry

isocket has received $8 million in a Series A round of funding. Foundry Group led the investment. New investor Costanoa also joined with participation from seed investors DFJ, SoftTech, Accelerator, Quest and Blumberg Capital. In conjunction with the financing, Seth Levine from Foundry Group and James Beriker, former VP for Yahoo! Display Advertising and CEO of Efficient Frontier and Dapper, are joining isocket’s board of directors. Silicon Valley-based isocket launched a concept of programmatic direct buying and selling of online advertising.

PRESS RELEASE

isocket, the company who launched the concept of programmatic direct buying and selling of online advertising, today announced it has received $8 million in a Series A round of funding. Foundry Group, the venture capital firm known for its online advertising investments in companies like Admeld (acquired by Google in 2011 for $400M), Federated Media, Triggit, Medialets, LinkSmart, and Trada, led the investment. New investor Costanoa joined as well, with participation from seed investors DFJ, SoftTech, Accelerator, Quest and Blumberg Capital. In conjunction with the financing, Seth Levine from Foundry Group and James Beriker, former VP for Yahoo! Display Advertising and CEO of Efficient Frontier and Dapper, are joining isocket’s Board of Directors.

“I have said before that I think we’ll look back at 2012 as a key year where programmatic direct advertising really began to take hold thanks in no small part to the efforts of John Ramey and the isocket team,” said Seth Levine, Managing Director of Foundry Group. “isocket has a unique and refreshing vision for how to drive real progress in the online ad industry. While a large amount of time, energy, and investment has gone into taking friction out remnant inventory, very little focus has been paid to applying modern technology to the premium side of the display ecosystem. Direct ad sales should be easier and more fluid – and as a result more profitable for both publishers and advertisers – than existing tools allow for.”

isocket’s mission is to make the direct sales of online advertising easier for advertisers and publishers. Premium advertising, traditionally bought and sold by hand or through email attachments, represents more than 75% of all online advertising dollars. However, over 90% of the technology built in the last decade has been in the unsold “remnant” ad inventory segment, including Ad Exchanges, SSP’s, DSP’s, Real Time Bidding, and Private Exchanges. The result is a major industry segment that has been grossly underinvested, with little advancement since the birth of online advertising.

Over 1,500 publishers ranging from AOL, Reuters, and Gawker and thousands of advertisers from Salesforce, BMW, and AppSumo are using isocket. isocket’s newest product is BuyAds Pro, the first application dedicated to the needs of large scale professional media buyers interested in planning and purchasing programmatic direct advertising. For the many situations where DSPs and RTB are not the appropriate method to buy online ads, particularly direct “guaranteed” buying, BuyAds Pros offers professional advertisers the largest catalog of publishers in the world, with one click ordering. What used to take days of manual effort and an average of $41,000 in overhead costs now takes just minutes, with the first point-and-shoot experience of its kind.

“Since we launched in 2009 with our first publisher Techcruch, the isocket team has been focused on bringing the best technology and product principles from other areas of the web to the lagging advertising space. There’s no reason buying a premium online ad should have 900% more overhead cost than buying a comparable TV ad. Our mission is to fix that,” said John Ramey, CEO & Founder of isocket. “I am extremely excited to work with Foundry, Seth, and James and their wealth of knowledge and experience in online advertising. We’re building one of the best teams in ad tech, including recent hires like Mark Liao as CFO, Casey Saran from Admeld and Google, Lisa Backman from Rubicon Project, and more.”

Mark Liao joins isocket having most recently been VP Business Operations & VP Operations Finance for the Americas at Yahoo!, where he oversaw the finance and metrics of the advertising business. Mark joined Yahoo! in 2004 having been acquired as part of the management team at Overture.

“At Yahoo! I had a unique perspective on the very real pain and needed solution for premium web publishers like Yahoo. I saw firsthand the need for more technology in direct sales, primarily to balance out all the solutions built for remnant buying that usually aren’t the right ways for publishers to sell their best inventory.” said Mark Liao, CFO for isocket. “The next big opportunity in online advertising is making the process of selling premium ad inventory easier for both buyers and sellers by replacing the spreadsheet with APIs and web apps. When direct ad buying and selling get easier, the tide will rise for everyone – advertisers get digital access to higher quality, guaranteed inventory, while publishers are able to properly monetize their best inventory.”

About isocket

isocket is oddly passionate about making it easier for online advertisers and publishers to find each other and do business directly with each other. As the largest marketplace of premium, direct-to-publisher inventory in the world, isocket offers large and small advertisers easy ways to plan, execute and manage direct advertising campaigns through BuyAds.com, BuyAds Pro, and the world’s first programmatic API for direct buying. Based in the heart of Silicon Valley with offices in New York, isocket’s team has extensive experience in online advertising as key members of Google, Yahoo!, Rubicon Project, AOL, Admeld. isocket is backed by leading investors including Foundry Group, Costanoa, DFJ, SoftTech, Accelerator, Quest, Blumberg Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, and more.

About Foundry Group

Foundry Group is a venture capital firm focused on investing in early-stage information technology, Internet, and software startups. In addition to providing the necessary venture capital to get a company up and running, Foundry Group is committed to leveraging their experience in starting and growing companies, expertise in the technology industry, and network of relationships to help great entrepreneurs turn great ideas into great companies. Foundry Group is based in Boulder, Colorado, and invests in companies located across the United States.

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