Bangalore-based online advertising network Ozone Media Solutions Pvt Ltd has received its first round of funding from IDG Ventures India. Kiran Gopinath, founder and CEO of Ozone Media confirmed the deal but refused to divulge the deal size. A media report suggested that it could be around $4 million.
Ozone offers customised service for advertisers across verticals such as news, financial services and entertainment. Their business model is to aggregate small and medium sized publishers who do not have their own sales force and sell the inventory to advertisers. In the US, there are companies like Federated Media (FMPub) and women’s ad network Glam Media (which was recently valued at over $1 billion).
This is not Gopinath’s first venture, as he had earlier set up Webshastra, also an Internet advertising company in 2000 along with two other persons. Webshastra had received funding from Erasmic Ventures. The company was sold to Position2, a Silicon Valley-based search engine marketing firm in 2006.
The IDG funding will be used by the company to increase the number of its partner websites, which currently stands at 100, and strengthen its marketing strategy. The company also claims more than 40 clients including companies such as HSBC, SBI, Yahoo! (NSDQ: YHOO), Lenovo, Cleartrip and Citibank.
This investment will take IDG Ventures portfolio to eight companies in India. Other companies in IDG Venture’s portfolio include 3D Solid Compression, Kreeda, Aujas Networks, Manthan Systems, ConnectM, Perfint and iViz. Ozone has partnership with 3D Solid Compression, an IDG portfolio company to efficiently serve video advertising on its network. It also has tie ups with Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures Entertainment’s Crackle and 24/7 Real Media.
Internet advertising in India is expected to grow to Rs 2,500 crore by 2011. Some other companies active in this segment in India are Komli (funded by Helione Venture, DFJ and Nexus India Capital) Adchakra (by Percept Holdings) and Tyroo (part-owned by Yahoo and Quasar), while Webchutney is launching a group of vertical ad networks for bollywood, women, travel and business and technology.
There have been some deals in the online advertising segment recently. Martin Sorrel’s WPP Digital acquired a 75 per cent stake in Quasar Media. Also Yahoo picked up around 35 per cent stake in an Indian online ad network Tyroo last year. Among the Indian deals, Capital18 bought a stake in Webchutney.
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