FreeWheel's New Financing Supports Video Ad Expansion
FreeWheel, whose Monetization Rights Management platform helps content owners and distributors sell ad inventory, announced on Monday the closing of another round of financing worth $16.8 million.
New investor Steamboat Ventures -- a firm affiliated with The Walt Disney Company -- joined existing investors Turner Broadcasting System, Battery Ventures and Foundation Capital.
The investment will be used to support the company's infrastructure and continued efforts to scale globally, as well as develop new products.
San Mateo, Calif.-based FreeWheel was founded in early 2008 by three DoubleClick alums and digital media veterans. The company offers content owners, carriers and distributors end-to-end video ad management technology, which simplifies the task of managing video ad sales, ad serving and ad sales rights across widely syndicated distribution channels.
Media clients include Turner, VEVO, CBS and MLB.com.
Participating investors are bullish on the continued growth of online video. "Multiple screens and their ability to distribute information are everywhere, and digital video growth remains a key element of Turner's overall digital strategy," said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports at Turner Broadcasting System.
"Digital video ad serving and ad rights management is a growing market with enormous potential, especially as television content becomes increasingly portable," said Dan Beldy, managing director of Steamboat Ventures.
Last year, FreeWheel signed more than 15 content providers, added 15 ad networks and distribution partners, and grew to 70 employees in San Mateo, New York and Beijing.
In one instance, it established a partnership with Attributor Corp., a provider of content monitoring and monetization platforms. The alliance created a mechanism by which content owners and distributors could identify and monetize their user-generated video content.
Attributor delivers content identification and automated policy infrastructure that scales Web-wide for content owners. FreeWheel selects high-yielding packages of ads from the sales forces and ad networks that it knows are allowed to sell into a given piece of Attributor-identified content.
To date, FreeWheel has raised about $29 million, most recently securing $12 in series-C last April.