Commentary

Millennial Media Secures $16 Million

mobile/money

Mobile ad network Millennial Media has closed a third-round venture funding of $16 million led by New Enterprise Associates and including Bessemer Venture Partners, Columbia Capital, and Charles River Ventures.

The Baltimore-based company had previously raised a total of $21.3 million in venture financing. With the capital infusion, Millennial said Monday it plans to become profitable, accelerate European and international growth, expand its engineering and sales staff, and enhance its mobile media technologies.

Its latest funding comes only a week after Google announced plans to acquire Millennial rival AdMob for $750 million. The proposed deal increased speculation that other mobile ad networks would soon become acquisition targets for Google competitors such as Microsoft and Yahoo as well as traditional online ad networks like ValueClick and 24/7 Real Media.

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In Millennial's announcement today, Patrick Kerins, a general partner at New Enterprise Associates touted the company as the "crown jewel of the market," sounding as if the firm is already trying to heighten interest among potential buyers. Kerins will join Millennial's board in connection with the investment.

Millennial says its ad network reaches nearly 80% of the more than 64 million U.S. mobile Web users. While its network isn't as heavily focused on the iPhone and iPhone applications as AdMob, Millennial reported that Apple had become the top handset maker on its platform as of September, accounting for more than 22.5% of impressions.

Earlier this month, the company issued a study showing mobile ad spending will grow in 2010, almost a third of agencies budgeting $100,000 to $250,000 in mobile advertising next year, up from 21% this year, and 15% planning to spend $1 million or more. It also found 60% of non-mobile marketers plan to buy mobile advertising in 2010.

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