The in-app mobile video advertising startup Vungle announced Thursday that it received $17 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Thomvest Ventures, with participation from existing investors Crosslink Capital, Google Ventures, AOL Ventures, SoftTech VC, and Webb Investment Network.
If you're not familiar with Vungle, the company gives app developers tools for creating mobile video ads to run in other people's apps, and helps the developers make money by creating inventory for Vungle video ads to run inside their own apps. According to the company's website, 100 million people see a Vungle ad each month.
What's particularly interesting about Vungle is that it's currently in the process of building an in-app mobile video advertising exchange, which will allow demand-side buyers to plug into its system and buy ads via real-time bidding.
While there are existing video ad exchanges that function in mobile apps, like Tremor Video, and mobile ad exchanges that feature in-app video, like InMobi, Vungle says its exchange will be the only one focused exclusively on in-app mobile video.
"There are huge challenges to serving video ads in a mobile environment," said Vungle VP of marketing Andrea Sharfin, who cited device fragmentation and issues with connection speeds as impediments. "We're the first company to really crack this because we’re totally laser focused on this part of the market."
Sharfin said that Vungle's ultimate vision is to be a company that helps app developers monetize their products wherever their apps may live. With the growth of the so-called "Internet of Things," Sharfin said Vungle sees apps cropping up in products like cars, refrigerators, and contact lenses and believes that its early focus on video will give it a leg up in providing advertising services to this explosion of new apps.
With the new money, Sharfin said Vungle will be able to triple its headcount from about 50 worldwide employees and pursue its vision of building tech that serves as a monetization layer across the app ecosystem.
Sharfin declined to say whether Vungle was profitable, but said the company raised the money because it wanted to work with Thomvest Ventures, not because it needed more funding.
"We raised the Series A round a while ago, and we just saw a wonderful opportunity to work with a great strategic partner in Thomvest," Sharfin said. "When you see an opportunity like that to work with someone who can help take your business to the next level, you sort of have to jump on it."
Here's what one of Vungle's video ads looks like:
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