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FreeWheel Nabs $16.8M, Steamboat & Turner on Board

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Online video ad firm FreeWheel announced today that it has raised $16.8 million that includes Disney (s DIS) venture firm Steamboat Ventures. Steamboat joins existing investors Turner Broadcasting System (s TWX), Battery Ventures and Foundation Capital. Along with the funding, Steamboat managing director Dan Beldy will join Turner Broadcasting’s Trish Jones on FreeWheel’s board of directors.

FreeWheel provides online video publishers with technology enabling them to serve ads through various distribution poinsts and across multiple destination sites. By working with video aggregators like YouTube (s GOOG) and distributors like, the ad firm can help its publishing partners monetize videos even when they’re not served on the publisher’s site.

That has proved an attractive value proposition to some major media companies, which have turned to FreeWheel to manage their online ad inventory. Over the past year, it has signed up Turner, Vevo,, ESPN (s DIS) and Discovery Communications (s DISCA), among others. It now serves more than two billion ad impressions a month, and could see that increase even further, after launching a new partner program with more than 70 companies signed up.

In its press release announcing the funds, FreeWheel says the new funds will be used to “further scale its infrastructure to support new and existing clients, expand that infrastructure globally, and continue to innovate with new products to solve the converging video industry’s biggest pain points.” Along with the funding news, FreeWheel is also announcing a new version of its ad delivery platform, Monetization Rights Management 3.0, which has been upgraded to include features that help address TV Everywhere initiatives, such as advanced commercial break pattern management.

The new funding follows a $12 million Series C round that FreeWheel raised last April.

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