Neon Labs nabs $4.1 mln Series A

Neon Labs has raised $4.1 million in Series A funding. Mohr Davidow Ventures led the round with participation from return backers True Ventures and Steve Blank. Based in San Francisco, Neon Labs is an image selection platform for monetizing digital content.


SAN FRANCISCO – July 15th, 2014 – Neon Labs, the image selection platform for monetizing digital content, today announced that IGN Entertainment has inked an agreement and is working closely with Neon to maximize its current video viewership of 48.7 million unique visitors per month. This engagement with a premier media publisher was announced in conjunction with Neon’s news of a Series A round of $4.1 million in funding. Led by Mohr Davidow Ventures, the round is supported by prior investors, True Ventures and technology executive Steve Blank. This new investment will enable Neon to scale to meet increasing customer demand and accelerate its partnership with online video platform provider Brightcove.

“We have supported Neon Labs since day one, based on their compelling vision to use science to change the way consumers interact with images in the digital era. I think Neon Labs’ technology has the potential to do for images what Dolby did for sound,” said Bill Ericson, General Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures. “With over a billion images loaded on the Internet each day, companies need new technologies to sift through and surface the best images at this massive scale. Selecting thumbnails for video is just the beginning for Neon.”

Today, Neon leverages the scientific research compiled by nearly 10 years of research at Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Massachusetts General Hospital on algorithms that can generate up to 100 percent more engagement than human-selected images. These algorithms are employed to help leading media and marketing companies find the images that drive clicks. Neon’s’ mission is to better organize the world’s images to find the ones that viewers and consumers care about most.
“I was really keen to try Neon for Video, given it uses a scientific process to select thumbnails,” said Jim Hall, VP of Technology, IGN , a Ziff Davis company. “Ziff Davis and IGN are deeply committed to using new technologies to improve content discovery on our sites. I was pleasantly surprised that not only did Neon for Video take a significant amount of work off of our hands, it also improved the clickability of our thumbnails by 30% on average. This is a huge win for us.”

Neon’s new IGN contract and funding crown several months of rapid growth. In addition to IGN, the company continues to expand its existing partnership with Brightcove.

“Neon has been a partner of Brightcove’s since Neon launched its product. Together we have helped a number of leading media publishers and marketers get more views and more value from their video content,” said Anil Jain, SVP and GM, Media Group at Brightcove. “We very much look forward to expanding our partnership in the future.”

By simply optimizing the thumbnail for customers, Neon can help companies generate at least 5 to 30 percent more revenue from video without having to make additional videos or sell more ads.

“When I worked through the numbers with some of our big media publishers, it was amazing to see how many millions of dollars in ad revenue flow through a tiny 75×120 pixel image,” said Sophie Lebrecht, CEO of Neon.

Neon’s CEO Sophie Lebrecht holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Brown University and completed her post-doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon University and CMU Silicon Valley. Substantial support for the company has come from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (or I-Corps) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Lebrecht co-founded Neon with her Ph.D. advisor, {(‘Professor Michael J. Tarr’, ‘’)}, current head of Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Psychology. Tarr and Lebrecht developed algorithms that can generate up to 100 percent more engagement than human-selected images.

About Neon
Neon is the fully automated image selection platform for monetizing digital content. Neon’s proprietary scientific solution increases revenue for leading online news, sports, entertainment media publishers, advertisers and marketers. Neon’s first product, Neon for Video, is the real time optimization tool for video thumbnails, proven to increase video views by 5-30+ percent on average.

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