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NBC Invests $2M in Mobile Ad Network, Greystripe

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GreystripeLogo200x34Greystripe, a mobile advertising network that distributes ad-supported games and applications, said it secured $2 million in funding from the Peacock Equity Fund, a joint venture fund co-founded by GE (s ge) and its NBC Universal unit, ending a Series C funding round. The funding and a new strategic partnership with NBC Universal give Greystripe an edge in the hyper-competitive mobile ad world.

The ad network’s total funding now equals $17.6 million. Greystripe’s ad platform will be used to monetize free mobile apps published by NBC Universal. San Francisco-based Greystripe raised $5.5 million this spring, with Incubic Venture Capital leading the round. Steamboat Ventures and Monitor Ventures also participated.

Today’s funding news marks the second time a major media corporation-backed fund has invested in Greystripe. Steamboat Ventures, Walt Disney’s (s dis) venture capital arm, led Greystripe’s Series B funding round in 2007, injecting $8.9 million into the ad network. In addition to receiving capital from NBC Universal, Greystripe will partner with the media corporation’s big-name properties, such as the Sci-Fi Channel, Bravo and MSNBC, to provide ads on its mobile applications. At the same time, NBC Universal can  now sell ad space within its mobile apps to advertisers through Greystripe’s mobile ad network.

Competition within the mobile ad industry, which is set to hit $2 billion in 2014, is ramping up. The Peacock Equity Fund’s investment in Greystripe is sure to add pressure on rival network AdMob, which acquired AdWhirl last week. Unlike AdMob, Greystripe has traditionally been known to serve ads in mobile games. In addition, Greystripe can serve Flash-like ads on the iPhone (Flash isn’t available on the iPhone yet), which is why the ad network was a better fit for NBC Universal relative to its peers, according to Greystripe CEO Michael Chang.

Chang said the funding will go toward augmenting the company’s sales team in North America, particularly its New York office, which is where NBC’s headquarters are located. Greystripe’s ad network supports more than 1,400 devices and serves ads on 1,000 mobile apps and games.

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