Centro Raises $22M, Expands Sales, Media Buying


Centro, which operates a national platform for placing online ads in local Web sites, has raised an additional $22.5 million to expand its sales force. The goal is to better target mid-tier advertisers and ad agencies, as well as to improve its Transis automated media-buying software. Centro received the equity financing from FTV Capital.  

Founded in 2001, the Chicago-based company started out with a platform focusing on newspaper Web sites of varying sizes, then branched out into other local sites.

Centro's Transis platform is a stand-alone Web-based system that enables ad agencies to run customized campaigns across more than 10,000 national and local sites. The proprietary software service has been adopted by over 50 agencies large and small, including Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boelter + Lincoln, and Burrell Communications Group.



Altogether, the company works with over 350 agencies and about 1,100 advertising clients.

Centro founder and CEO Shawn Riegsecker noted the potential for synergies with FTV's backers that manage complex online ad campaigns. "FTV Capital's experience investing in software automation companies combined with its well-respected and extensive relationships in the financial services and banking sectors will be a great help as we execute our growth strategy in the media and publishing industry."

On the publisher side, services like Centro can give a boost to local newspaper revenues, which can use all the help they can get.

After a period of strong growth, total online revenues for the newspaper business declined from $3.2 billion in 2007 to $2.7 billion in 2009, according to the Newspaper Association of America, before rebounding somewhat in 2010. In the first three quarters of 2010, total online revenues increased 10% to about $2.2 billion.

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