Supponor Raises Series A

Supponor Ltd., a Helsinki, Finland-based provider of digital billboard replacement solutions, has raised EUR 6 million in Series A funding. Northzone Ventures and return backer Conor Venture Partners co-led the round.




Supponor Ltd, a pioneering provider of digital billboard replacement (DBR) solutions, today announced the successful closing of its Series A funding round. The funds will be used for international sales and marketing of Supponor DBRLive, a novel system for precise masking and replacement of on-event advertising content in live sports broadcasts. The system opens up a wide range of opportunities for targeted and localized sports marketing.


The funding round was led by Northzone Ventures, one of Europe's leading early stage venture capital firms, and Conor Venture Partners, a Finnish early-stage technology venture capital firm and an existing investor in Supponor. The funding of 6 million Euros, a significant investment for a pre-revenue company, will be used to leverage the business opportunities that Supponor DBRLive brings to digital advertising agencies and television right holders. With the new funding, Supponor will launch DBRLive in Europe and the United States, the world's leading markets in sports advertising.


“Television broadcasts of the world's most popular sports events are watched in exactly the same format in highly different markets, whereas advertisers are looking for segmented audiences”, said Mr. Juha Ruohonen, Supponor CEO. “Billboard ads visible throughout the sporting events create attention values that are manifold compared with ads on commercial breaks. The ability to digitally change the billboard content to best suit different audiences has achieved great interest from both TV rights holders and advertisers”.


“TV rights and advertising slots in sporting events are bought and sold for huge sums of money around the globe”, said Mr. Bjrn Stray, General Partner at Northzone Ventures. “DBRLive gives organizers, sports clubs, sports federations and television right holders an opportunity to multiply the value of their events by enabling advertisers to target their messages. We are impressed by Supponor's system and are true believers in its success”.


Billboard content digitally changed with DBRLive looks very similar to real physical billboards. Patented software technology calculates the position of the billboards in real time which allows for smooth and exact placing of digital content in live broadcasts. The system works in both indoor and outdoor events, regardless of weather and lighting conditions, and irrespective of people or objects moving in front of the billboards. The result is a natural-looking billboard that is relevant to viewers in different markets.


“There are already several players in the market that produce digital content and place it on top of the television picture”, explained Mr. Ruohonen. “Their offerings typically range from graphics that help viewers follow the event to digital ads that appear on screen independently of physical billboards. The unique advantage of DBRLive is that digital ads are placed exactly on top of real-world billboards, which allows advertisers to reach their desired target groups without a risk of being blamed invasive or intrusive”.


“The traditional television broadcasts will expand to multiple new channels and services, including IPTV, web and mobile”, said Mr. Manu Mkel, Partner at Conor Venture Partners. “Directly applicable in all digital channels, the opportunities available through full deployment of DBRLive are exceptionally exciting. We have already been working with the Supponor team for two years in perfecting the technology, and bringing Northzone on board to boost the market entry is a great leap for the company”.


Supponor, based in Finland, is currently negotiating with several sports event organizers and television right holders in Europe and the United States.


Photos and a video of ad content replaced with Supponor DBRLive:


About Northzone


Northzone Ventures, a leading Nordic technology VC, was established in 1996. Northzone Ventures consists of 9 partners with offices in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. Northzone is actively engaged in about 40 technology companies. Current and past portfolio companies include Pricerunner, Asetek, Enigma Semiconductor, Speakanet, Funcom,, Revolt, Mamut, Nextgentel, Stepstone and Trolltech.


About Conor Venture Partners


Conor Venture Partners is a leading early-stage technology VC investing in Finland, Sweden and the Baltics. Conor invests in disruptive technologies in ICT, embedded systems, electronics, new materials and optics.