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Rubicon Project Raises $15 Million Second Round; Company Vets Ad Nets For Publishers

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The Rubicon Project, a company that helps web publishers choose the most efficient ad networks, has raised a $15 million second round led by Mayfield Fund. Other backers included IDG Ventures Asia, Stanford University, University of California Berkeley, Matt Coffin, founder and former CEO of, and Clearstone Venture Partners, which also participated in Rubicon’s $6 million first round in October.

The Los Angeles-based company plans to use the funds for international expansion, acquisitions, R&D, and technology. The company launched about eight months ago and began beta testing in October. CEO Frank Addante told me that he initially planned to sign up 500 sites within three months of launching the beta. “We were a little surprised when we signed up 500 sites the first day,” he said, adding that 3,000 sites have signed up for Rubicon’s service to date and the company has processed 4 billion ads through its platform.

Addante described Rubicon as operating in the space between publishers and ad networks. Rubicon offers to find the best money-making ads from the various ad networks for publishers. “There are over 300 ad networks out there today, compared to 15 when I started in digital media seven years ago,” said Addante, who previously founded e-mail marketer StrongMail. (He has started five companies in all, which resulted in “one IPO, two buyouts and one failure – we call that one ‘a learning experience.’) “Many web publishers aren’t sure which ad networks are relevant to their content, which ones perform better than others, which ones should be targeted against specific pieces of inventory. So there’s a lot of chaos out there. Rubicon’s proposition, then, is that we can sort through it. “