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Automated platform iSocket kicks the kerfuffle out of ad-buying and bags $5 million in venture funding

Tech-savvy art direc­tors and hard-nosed account man­agers alike would con­cede that if an adver­tis­ing tech plat­form can raise a Ven­ture round of $5 mil­lion bare­ly five years after its launch, it’s prob­a­bly got one hell of a prod­uct to play with. And that would cer­tain­ly be true of iSock­et, the San Fran­cis­co-based start­up that has just closed such a deal in a fund­ing round led by Time Warn­er Invest­ments, bring­ing its fund­ing total to a hefty $15.1 mil­lion (Condé Nast also participated).

Sooth­ing the ad-buy­ing headache

The more per­spic­u­ous art direc­tor will rec­og­nize that these investors are two of the biggest names in pub­lish­ing. In a nut­shell, iSocket’s pri­ma­ry mis­sion is to let online adver­tis­ing agen­cies, brands and buy­ing and plan­ning plat­forms to con­nect eas­i­ly with top pub­lish­ers to buy adver­tis­ing, while mak­ing it equal­ly easy for pub­lish­ers to sell their dig­i­tal ads.

This cuts out a good deal of ker­fuf­fle in between, like get­ting pub­lish­ers’ sales staff to woo buy­ers (and man­age rela­tion­ships with them) via email, over the phone or with Excel. Instead of the tra­di­tion­al spread­sheet palaver, which can include as many as 50 sep­a­rates steps (col­lect­ing mock­ups, mak­ing inven­to­ries, nego­ti­at­ing opti­mal ad sizes, for­mat­ting, pric­ing and so on) iSock­et rad­i­cal­ly stream­lines the whole process with its auto­mat­ed platform.

Pub­lish­ers sim­ply cre­ate a pro­file and set up their ad inven­to­ry, where­upon iSock­et does the rest. It effec­tive­ly crates a mini-mar­ket­place that allows adver­tis­ers to pore over the ads and all the asso­ci­at­ed info. They can then buy the ads that they like with a few clicks (the pub­lish­er is auto­mat­i­cal­ly noti­fied by email when one or more of its ads are cho­sen by a prospec­tive buy­er, where­upon it can choose to accept or decline the offer). If the pub­lish­er approves, again, iSock­et does the rest.

Onwards and upwards

CEO Richard Jalichan­dra, who joined iSock­et last Sep­tem­ber after a stint as CEO at Tech­no­rati, said:

“We’re very pleased to have Time Warn­er and Condé Nast, two of the biggest names in pub­lish­ing, endors­ing our mod­el for adver­tis­ing sales automation.”

In addi­tion to the fund­ing news, the start­up also announced a new ad-buy­ing tool for online adver­tis­ing agen­cies and brands, “iSock­et for Adver­tis­ers”, and revealed that it has appoint­ed erst­while Microsoft ad exec­u­tive Kevin McCabe as VP of busi­ness development.

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