Everyone’s fighting to deliver the right ad, to the right person, at the right time. That’s the ad industry’s mantra, and no one knows it more so then Dave Gross, the CEO and founder of audience optimization digital advertising company Connexity.
Connexity aims to crack the time-person-ad riddle with a lot of big data analysis and the learnings gathered by Gross across a career of success in ad-tech. Gross believes that Connexity’s solution, which he says “uses every tool and every variable available,” does a better job than any other in optimizing the audience delivered to each brand and ad served to each audience.
“It’s a crowded space, yes, but there’s still a ton of inefficiency here and online advertising is still growing at double digits,” says Gross.
Today Connexity closed a $3 million seed round of funding led by Rincon Venture Partners, with participation from Siemer Ventures, Persistence Partners (a fund where Gross is a principal), Gross’ former Fastclick co-founder Jeff Pryor, and the CEO himself. In conjunction with the financing, Rincon partner John Greathouse joined the company’s board of directors.
After more than a year in development, Connexity entered the market in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company applies what it calls “social networking architecture” to online audiences to extract relevant connections, interests, and consumer intent data via multi-graph analysis. “It’s not quite a social graph, but it functions like one,” says Gross. “It’s based more heavily on behavior than on relationships.”
The company does all of its behind-the-scenes optimization with advertiser and first-party data, rather than buy what Gross calls tired, expensive, and highly competitive third-party data. The result is a proprietary end-to-end solution for optimizing audience buying and selling.
Gross plans to use the new financing to expand his team of 12 on both the technology and the sales fronts. The company previously raised $2 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank.
Like the majority of ad-tech, a lot of what the company does is proprietary and the rest is more convoluted than can be fully understood without a technical dissertation that is beyond the scope of this discussion. Given this, perhaps the best barometers of validity and success available today are the caliber entrepreneurs and investors involved. In both categories, Connexity is well situated.
Gross was highly complimentary of his lead investor saying, “We have known [Rincon] for years and have been watching their rapid rise in the advertising technology space. They have grown to a level of domain expertise that compliments their extraordinary reputation as investment partners.”
The founder himself is no slouch. Prior to founding Connexity, Gross was the co-founder of online advertising company Fastclick. Under his leadership, the company raised only $400,000 in total, while growing into a NASDAQ-listed company which eventually sold to ValueClick for more than $200 million in 2005.
“Consistent with a primary tenet of our investment thesis, Connexity is a serially successful team,” says Rincon’s Greathouse. “Advertisers are hungry for new marketing solutions that engage online users with more relevant ads, rather than interrupt and annoy them. Connexity is leading the charge.”