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Social Media Ad Firm Moontoast Raises $4.5 Million

Moontoast announced Thursday it closed an additional $4.5 million in its Series B funding from a Tennessee-based investment firm. That brings total funding in the round to $9.5 million for the Boston-based social media advertising technology firm.

Moontoast has now raised $20.5 million since its original founding in 2008 in Nashville. Moontoast previously made social media advertising campaigns for country music stars Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.

The additional funds came from early-stage investment firm The Martin Companies of Nashville, and follows "strong traction and results" with Moontoast's newest clients — including ToyotaNikeLexus and Microsoft, according to the company.



Moontoast moved its headquarters from Nashville to Boston in 2012; the following year was its biggest growth year, said company CEO Blair Heavey.

The firm launched about 100 different social media advertising campaigns for its clients in 2013, and Heavey said he expects that number to grow to between 400 and 500 this year.

The firm grew from less than 20 employees in 2013 to 44 currently across its offices in Boston, New York City, Nashville and San Francisco. The company employs 17 at the Boston office and is "always looking to add" new hires, Heavey said.

Moontoast helps clients make social rich media advertising campaigns including lead generation campaigns, endorsement campaigns and awareness campaigns for social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The firm also provides analytics to help clients track the success of their campaigns.

"We're starting to see client testimonials where clients are moving (advertising) dollars over to social and mobile because of the results," Heavey said in an interview.

Moontoast was founded by CTO Marcus Whitney, whose background is in marketing technology. He came up with the idea for Moontoast in 2007 after attending film and music festival South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

The Twitter effect

Whitney saw people using Twitter to let others know where they'd be at the festival, and which parties to attend. People did attend those parties after hearing about them through Twitter, he said.

"It was the first time anybody really saw mobile devices and social interactions shifting consumer behaviors," said Whitney, also the co-founder of Nasvhille-based JumpStart Foundry, a seed-stage microfund.

The firm moved from Nasvhille to Boston to take advantage of Boston's burgeoning technology, ad tech and analytics scene.

"We really knew we had to base our company in a city where we could build out a strong analytics team, and Boston is really one of the best cities in the world to build out talent," Whitney said.

Additional clients include NissanHyundai, Turner Communications, VEVO, Nike andMicrosoft.

Last November, Moontoast debuted a social media advertisement on Instagram to promote the 2014 Toyota Tundra. Moontoast says it was the first company to integrate Instagram video and photo in a social rich media ad unit.

Read the whole story at Boston Business Journal »

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