The investment from New Enterprise Associates (which manages some $8.5 billion worth of capital) adds to the $10.5 million the firm has already committed to MediaBank, the fledgling Chicago-based developer of media buying and tracking systems.
"The big statement it hopefully makes to the industry is--we are in this for the long haul," MediaBank CEO Brad Keywell said.
Keywell said the money will be used for research and development to improve its offerings, as well as to add to its 160 employees, which he said will increase to 250 by the end of the year. The company recently hired a chief sales officer, Greg Koerner, from Yahoo to help attract additional agency clients.
MediaBank touts its ability to facilitate the execution and processing of both digital and traditional media buys on a single system. And it bills the analytics capabilities of its technology as cutting-edge in helping buyers develop optimal media mixes.
"We are investing an enormous amount of money in our analytics capabilities," Keywell said. "We think analytics is a key differentiator for MediaBank versus all legacy providers--and furthermore, we think we can advance analytics and separate the best media buyers from the rest of the pack."
In addition to NEA, MediaBank is funded by its founders, including Keywell, and private investors. Keywell said: "From day one, we've been exceptionally well-funded," though he declined to cite figures beyond NEA's $40.5 million commitment.
MediaBank, which purchased established player Datatech last year, is trying to mount a substantial challenge to industry leader Donovan Data Systems--partly through what it says is a superior system capable of end-to-end buying of digital media ranging from Web sites to WAP sites.
DDS and Starcom MediaVest have been embroiled in a legal dispute as SMG opted to shift its operations to MediaBank after seven years with DDS. DDS has charged that Starcom and MediaBank worked together to misappropriate some of DDS' technology.
In addition to SMG, MediaBank says it has more than 20 agencies using its system--either exclusively or in part--stretching across major holding companies WPP, IPG, Omnicom and SMG's Publicis. The Datatech acquisition brought a base of clients with it.