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.