TurnHere, a company that commissions and distributes online video advertisements on behalf of customers like Simon & Schuster and Citysearch, has rounded up $7.5 million from Venrock and Hearst Interactive Media. Combined with angel funding it raised in November of 2006, the company has raised $8.5 million total. It is kind of a boutique, Internet-focused version of Spot Runner.
We’re surprised at quite how much funding TurnHere brought in for this round; it’s much more than we would have expected. Founder and CEO Brad Inman, who has had an influential career in real estate publishing and marketing to draw on, said the money would be invested in sales, marketing, and distribution. Emeryville, Calif.-based TurnHere has 35 employees and 3,200 affiliated producers. Inman said the startup was “close to breaking even” in the last half of 2007.
TurnHere has accumulated nearly 3,000 videos, according to Inman (a sample screenshot is above; unfortunately the company disables embedding). It doesn’t have massive traffic, but rather aims for niche audiences, such as prospective visitors to a hotel or fans of a book author. “We’re not in the viral business,” said Inman. “This is about relevant, useful, authentic ads that are searchable where people find good information.” Customers pay “from several hundred to thousands” based on the complexity of the videos they commission.
Last year we related TurnHere’s change in strategy to sponsored videos from neighborhood vignettes. I later wrote about a satisfied TurnHere customer I’d interviewed at a conference in November (for reference, her cost was $6,000).