Clarion Capital Partners completed a strategic investment in Ad.net, which provides digital performance advertising through intent-driven marketing for brands and agencies.
Jon Waterman, Ad.net CEO and founder, will continue to lead the company and will maintain a significant ownership stake. The terms of the transaction, which closed on May 7, were not disclosed.
Despite not quantifying “significant,” he remains in control of the company and now has “great partners that believe in our vision and plan.”
The company will invest in building out products, and in projects in the pipeline that it may be a little slow to execute on.
“More importantly, we will start looking at acquisitions,” Waterman said, adding that Ad.net, since its founding around 2000 and 2001 had no prior investors and was privately funded. “The M&A piece was extremely important in finding the right partner. I don’t have the expertise my partners have to execute on that level.”
Ad.net has already begun to talk to companies it is interested in acquiring, as more companies look to diversify away from Google and Bing search, Waterman said.
As a college student Waterman bought domains, and he went on to build an online search network called Findology.com, which gained momentum and partnered with goto.com for sponsored listings. Goto.com later rebranded as Overture Services was acquired by Yahoo Search Marketing.
Waterman’s company evolved in the pay-per-click search space and caught the attention of Australian advertising services company Photon Group in 2007, which acquired Findology. He bought back Findology in 2011, and rebranded it to Ad.net a year later.
The funding will enable Ad.net to accelerate product innovation, drive new customer acquisition strategies, and augment the supply of high-performing online publishers to meet the growing demand of its customers such as Reebok.