If I learned anything about adtech last year, it’s that ad viewability is a big business. That much became very clear when comScore, a billion-dollar publicly traded company, sued three startups over its ad verification patents.
No longer just a tiny, esoteric service for advertising companies, viewability — the business of making sure the ads a company buys are actually shown to the person they are supposed to be shown to — has become increasingly important.
Stats like “77 percent of viewable ads are never seen” make it clear that advertisers need assurance that the ads they’re buying have at least a chance at being effective. Companies from comScore and Google to startups like Moat, DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science (formerly known as AdSafe) are all fighting for a piece of advertisers’ business.
So comScore sued those three startups over some ad verification patents it held. One, a startup called Moat, fought the lawsuit and won. The other two, including Integral Ad Science, settled out of court. The fight only made it more clear how in-demand verification is.
Today Integral Ad Science filed a Form D which shows it raised $30 million in new funding. The company had previously raised $17.3 million from Atlas Venture, Founder Collective, Coriolis Venturse, and Pelion Ventures. The only new board member listed on the filing is Eric Carlborg, of August Capital, which presumably led the round. (An email to CEO Scott Knoll was not returned at press time.)
This round puts Integral Ad Science on the same level, funding-wise, as its competitor DoubleVerify. That company has raised $46.5 million in funding. Moat, which fought the lawsuit against comScore (assaults and all!), has raised $16.5 million.
After its patent battle, Integral Ad Science beefed up on its own patents. The company last month was granted a patent for ad blocking, which sounds counter-intuitive for an adtech company. But the firewall tool under the patent is for making sure that brands don’t end up buying ads next to content they don’t want to be seen near. In other words, it aims to prevent some of the doings of the shady ad-tech underworld that Mike Shields has been reporting on for years. Adtech can be a murky business; verification startups like Integral Ad Science aim to clean it up.