NewTeeVee’s Next Big Thing List for 2009

FREEWHEEL

HQ: San Mateo, Calif.
Founding date: 2006
Funding: $12 million Series C round led by Foundation Capital and including existing investor Battery Ventures, which provided its two previous funding rounds of undisclosed amounts
Employees: 65

DoubleClick’s DART revolutionized web advertising by automating online ad buying and inventory management. Now, with Freewheel, three former DoubleClick execs are trying to do the same thing for video. And it’s working. As premium content becomes more widely accessible online, and the intersections of ownership, ad sales and distribution become more complicated, FreeWheel has already shown it can get other people’s ducks in a row. Though the startup — which competes with companies such as Auditude — works with what seems like everyone in the space, its most notable partner is YouTube, which enlisted it to help unite the ads content owners show on that site with the ads they show next to their content everywhere else it lives on the web. The result is that YouTube is less of an island and more of an integrated part of sales for premium publishers like CBS, Warner Bros. and Next New Networks, all three of which have obtained the right to sell their own ads from YouTube and also work with FreeWheel. (L.G.)

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