Contextual ad start-up ADmantX on Wednesday said it raised $2.8 million, led by Milan-based VC firm Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno.
This marks the first outside funding since ADmantX was spun off last year from Expert System, a provider of semantic software. ADmantX attempts to match ads with consumers using semantic analysis, which it says can measure specific emotions, behaviors, motivations and intentions.
The funding will be used to grow the company's sales staff and marketing presence, according to J. Brooke Aker, chief marketing officer at ADmantX.
The startup is also hoping to differentiate itself by not relying on cookies to track consumers' online activity, although the distinction is increasingly common among rivals.
"We are well-positioned to offer publishers an alternative to cookie-based ad targeting, should there be legislation that curbs its appeal," Aker said.
ADmantX competes directly against other ad providers like BuzzLogic -- which itself recently raised $7.8 million -- as well as Peer39, which signed a deal with supply-side platform The Rubicon Project late last year.
Microsoft and some smaller outfits are known for their semantic ad technology, which can identify the context of an article to determine the meaning of a word. Based on those findings, ads are automatically served to Web viewers.
Further shaking up the field, AppNexus, which provides a real-time bidding platform, integrated Peer39's semantic targeting capabilities late last year, allowing ad networks, demand-side platforms and direct marketers to optimize and target display advertising campaigns.
Per Wednesday's announcement, Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno will hold a minority share in ADmantX, with Expert System maintaining a majority.