iSocket said Monday that it has raised $5 million in new funding. Time Warner Investments led the round with participation from Condé Nast, R&R Venture Partners (a new fund created by Dick Parsons, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner and Ronald Lauder) and Vivi Nevo. Based in San Francisco, iSocket is a direct sales platform for online ads.
San Francisco (February 10, 2014) iSocket, the leader in programmatic direct and sales automation, today announced $5 million in new funding led by Time Warner Investments, with participation by Condé Nast; R&R Venture Partners, a new fund created by Dick Parsons, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner and Ronald Lauder; and prominent media investor, Vivi Nevo.
“Today, the majority of display, mobile and video advertising spend goes to premium inventory that is sold directly, at guaranteed fixed prices,” says Rachel Lam, SVP and Group Managing Director, Time Warner Investments. “As one of the first innovators in this premium, direct-sold segment, iSocket is uniquely positioned to help advertisers and publishers automate this process. We are thrilled to be working with this talented team, and expect this investment to give us valuable insight into the fast-moving programmatic direct market.”
In 2013 alone, $14 billion was spent on directly sold digital media, and almost all of it was executed manually through spreadsheet proposals, paper contracts, IOs, emails, and faxes. When executed manually, the average direct sale can take as many as 50 steps to complete, and can require the touch and facilitation of as many as a dozen people. iSocket’s technology automates many of those steps, dramatically increasing the productivity of buyers, sellers and operations personnel, while reducing delays, discrepancies, and the potential for human error.
“A new era in media sales is beginning, and automation will be playing a huge role,” says Richard Jalichandra, CEO, iSocket. “We’re very pleased to have Time Warner and Condé Nast two of the biggest names in publishing endorsing our model for advertising sales automation.”
“Condé Nast is pleased to support a platform that helps our premium advertising partners seamlessly enter the world of programmatic buying,” says Alanna Gombert, General Manager of Condé Nast’s programmatic buying group CatalystDesk.
iSocket has just launched a new way to buy premium, fixed price reserved inventory: a powerful, but easy-to-use media-buying tool built called iFA – iSocket For Advertisers. Agencies, media planning platforms, and direct advertisers can browse iSocket’s publisher catalog and buy well-defined, reserved inventory directly from iFP publishers like Microsoft, Reuters, and Forbes, all in a simple interface that can be seamlessly integrated with other enterprise systems.
Mr. Jalichandra says that the new funds will be used primarily for polishing iFA and iFP and expanding capabilities to work with more partners on buy, channel, and supply side.
Finally, iSocket is announcing that former Microsoft executive Kevin McCabe has joined the company as VP of Business Development and will be focusing extensively on channel partnerships in the coming months. Prior to joining iSocket, Mr. McCabe directed product management and demand-side enablement for the Microsoft Advertising Exchange and Microsoft’s Programmatic Direct channel.
iSocket (www.iSocket.com) is a technology platform purpose-built to simplify the buying and selling of fixed price, premium, reserved inventory. iSocket For Publishers (iFP) sales automation and programmatic direct tools allow top publisher sales teams to focus on relationships and strategy, while iSocket For Advertisers (iFA) makes it easier for agencies, brands, and buying and planning platforms to execute orders of well-defined, guaranteed inventory directly with top publishers. Through automation, iSocket is able to eliminate many of the errors and overhead costs that plague the manual media sales process.