Update: Invidi just put out a press release confirming the news:
INVIDI Technologies Corporation, the leader in advanced addressable advertising solutions for television, announced today it has secured over $23 million in a financing led by Google, with GroupM (a unit of holding company WPP), Motorola Ventures, and leading venture capital firms Menlo Ventures, InterWest, and EnerTech as participants.
We’ve pasted the whole thing below. Also, Peter Kafka says DISH didn’t play a role in the deal. (We continue to hear different.)
Earlier: As part of a renewed effort to get into TV advertising, Google is investing in a startup called Invidi Technologies, a source with knowledge of the deal tells us.
Together, Google and Invidi will sell ads on satellite provider EchoStar’s DISH Network.
Invidi is a startup working on a platform (now, with Google’s help) that makes it easier for advertisers to target satellite and cable audiences based on a plethora of demographics.
Reached, Invidi refused to comment but did say that it is sending out an “an important press release” tomorrow morning.
(We don’t know if the announcement will be this one, but that would make some sense.)
Google told us it doesn’t comment on rumour and speculation.
This is Google’s second TV ad deal with DISH Network. The companies signed the first back in 2007.
Originally, Google did not plan on renewing the deal because the first time around, DISH asked Google to guarantee more inventory than Google eventually sold.
But then Microsoft showed interest in selling ads for DISH and suddenly Google was interested again — even though DISH asked for even higher guarantees this time around.
This is where Invidi comes in.
The Google manager working the DISH deal figured Invidi’s technology could help it actually sell all the inventory DISH was demanding it pay for up front.
So Google approached Invidi, asking it if it wanted in. Invidi’s people basically said: Sure, but you’ve got to invest in us.
The Google manager took the deal to Google Ventures, Google’s VC wing. Google Ventures passed. Then the deal got shopped to Google corporate development. Google corporate development passed.
(Speculation has it that Google corporate development passed at first because it feared Invidi’s ad targeting would rile up the privacy watchdogs Google has to placate all the time.)
The Google manager charged with defending the DISH deal from Microsoft went back to Google Corporate Development one last time and finally got the deal done.
We understand it helped that GroupM, part of huge ad holding company WPP, is an Invidi investor. Google does what it can to keep its customers happy.
Our source figures Google’s investment is between $10 million and $15 million and that with a $100 million post, it values Invidi around $85 million.
Here’s the Invidi press release:
INVIDI TECHNOLOGIES COMPLETES$23+ MILLION “D” FINANCING ROUND
Financing supports expanded deployment of addressable advertising;
Google is lead investor, others include GroupM, Motorola Ventures and venture capital firms
New York, NY (May 5, 2010) – INVIDI Technologies Corporation, the leader in advanced addressable advertising solutions for television, announced today it has secured over $23 million in a financing led by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), with GroupM (a unit of holding company WPP), Motorola Ventures, and leading venture capital firms Menlo Ventures, InterWest, and EnerTech as participants.
Google leads the round, which includes a second investment made by GroupM, the world’s largest media investment company, and Motorola, a leading set top box manufacturer. Other participants include repeat investors from INVIDI’s prior rounds of financing: Menlo Ventures, InterWest Partners, EnerTech Capital, Westbury Equity Partners, BDC Capital, and others.
As part of Google’s commitment to this new relationship, Shishir Mehrotra, Director of Product Management for Google TV Ads and YouTube Ads, has joined INVIDI’s board of directors. In addition to its investment in INVIDI, the two companies have agreed to work together on projects of mutual interest that will bring value to INVIDI’s customers.
“Google and GroupM share our vision that addressability will transform television advertising by increasing effectiveness and eliminating wasted reach,” says INVIDI CEO David Downey. “They want to play an active role in shaping this revolution. This financing will accelerate our current efforts to deliver the functionality advertisers crave and the ability for operators and networks to increase the value of their advertising inventory. We can deliver this functionality on any platform our customers desire, tailored to their specific network needs.”
“INVIDI Technologies is actively advancing the growth of addressable technologies, which brings more relevance to TV viewership and advertising,” said Shishir Mehrotra, Director of Product Management for Google TV Ads and YouTube Ads. “We’re happy to join INVIDI’s investors, and we’re looking forward to seeing continued progress in this space.”
“GroupM strongly believes that addressable technology and advanced advertising functionality are critical to the future of television and other media,” said Irwin Gotlieb, Global CEO of GroupM. “As the world’s leading media investment company we have a responsibility to our clients to act as a catalyst on all developments in this arena, and our continued investment in INVIDI reflects this objective.”
INVIDI is a systems engineering solutions company focused on the television advertising industry and offering a suite of proprietary and standards-based advanced advertising technologies. INVIDI’s innovative
products allow addressability to any scale: national, regional, DMA, zone, household or individual user devices. With these technologies INVIDI can tailor a custom solution to any operator’s specific needs. These solutions are deployed by various operators and tests have established the technology’s benefits, including greatly improving the relevance of television spots shown to consumers while always maintaining privacy and confidentiality based on parameters established by operators. Since ads can be targeted according to specific demographics, advertisers have the ability to more precisely reach their desired audience with the preferred ad at the right time and with the appropriate frequency.
Multichannel video programming distributors also benefit from INVIDI’s tools by being able to monetise more of their advertising inventory through innovations such as aggregating audiences across various program sources as well as sending many different spots to the audience watching a single program.
INVIDI is rolling out its capabilities across cable, satellite, telco and IPTV platforms in the United States and abroad. INVIDI currently has publicly-announced distribution agreements with Dish Network and DirecTV and is in active negotiations to deploy its technology through multiple system operators. INVIDI’s technology was recently tested in Comcast’s Baltimore, MD, system with Starcom MediaVest, and the trial showed addressable ads to be 65% more efficient and 32% more effective.
About INVIDI Technologies Corporation
INVIDI Technologies Corporation is the world’s leading addressable media solutions company. Our vision and expertise in building smart advertising systems provides unrivalled capability for delivering the right advertising message to the right audience with pinpoint accuracy and creates substantial monetary value for the cable, satellite, telco and advertising industries. INVIDI’s unique approach to addressable advertising delivery, measurement and reporting is supported by an extensive portfolio of patents and other intellectual property. Our innovations in content delivery solutions and intellectual property development in targeted demographic media is the foundation for a wide array of advanced advertising capabilities. Digital technology has revolutionised media and INVIDI is making targeted addressable advertising, more efficient, more effective and more available than ever. Visit www.invidi.com for more details.
GroupM is the leading global media investment management operation. It serves as the parent company to WPP media agencies including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, and MindShare. Our primary purpose is to maximise the performance of WPP’s media communications agencies on behalf of our clients, our shareholders and our people by operating as a parent and collaborator in performance-enhancing activities such as trading, content creation, sports, digital, finance, proprietary tool development and other business-critical capabilities. The agencies that comprise GroupM are all global operations in their own right with leading market positions. The focus of GroupM is the intelligent application of physical and intellectual scale to benefit trading, innovation, and new communication services, to bring competitive advantage to our clients and our companies.