Most experienced business development managers would readily concede that it is not every day that an advertising startup manages to raise $17 million in investment in their third round of funding. However, Sharethrough, a company committed to high quality native advertising, has done just that, proving that the intelligently discriminating investor is capable of distinguishing between dreary filler content and genuine content marketing.
High quality is the name of the game
With offices in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, Sharethrough has just successfully closed its latest round of funding with a $7 million cash injection courtesy of new investors Silver Creek, Elevation Partners and Patrick Keane. Existing investors Floodgate and North Bridge Venture Partners also participated.
At the time of its $5 million Series B round back in 2012, Sharethrough focused almost exclusively on video ads but has since expanded its remit to encompass multiple formats with branded content via its Sharethrough Advertising Exchange (STR). As the canny business development manager would no doubt agree, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and this expansion proved a hit with top-name, big-reach publishers including Forbes, People and Popular Mechanics. According to comScore, Sharethrough’s network reaches no fewer that 227 million people every month, 119 million of whom were using mobile devices.
The secret is in the software
Shortly after the latest venture investment, Sharethrough’s senior communications manager, Thomas Crannick, told TechCrunch journalist Anthony Ha that the company’s in-feed advertising exchange refuses “crappy ads” and focuses exclusively on meaningful content. He said: “We look to sites like Medium, Upworthy and others as inspiration. They feature content that matters, we believe that STR is best used to promote meaningful brand content and we are the exchange that allows for the distribution of that type of content. Like we have said for a while, ads don’t have to suck.”
Crannick is adamant that Sharethrough is not about what many people think of as native advertising- namely, sponsored editorial content. Sharethrough focuses on in-stream and in-feed ads of the highest quality.
With the new investment sitting freshly in the business account, Sharethrough’s next moves, according to Crannick, will be fourfold: to hire more engineers and salespeople, to proceed with more tech development, to plot international expansion and to bring “STR software to every modern publisher.”