Brand Affinity Technologies (BAT), which uses research and interactive technology to market a massive roster of celebrities, has closed a $20 million third round led by Miramar Venture Partners. Other participants in the round included existing investors Newport Coast Investments (the private investment fund of BAT co-founders Chad and Ryan Steelberg), RimLight Capital, Fulcrum Venture Capital, Ad Pepper Media International — and new investor the Ueberroth family’s CGI Opportunity Fund II. (That’s as in uber-sports marketer Peter Uberroth, the former MLB commissioner and successful 1984 Olympics organizer.) BAT plans to use the funding to push the rollout of its first consumer product, netBAT; to add music and other celebrity categories to its endorsement platform; and to expand internationally.
Irvine, Calif.-based BAT, founded by the serial entrepreneur brothers in 2007, claims it will double revenues to $30 million this year. Until now, the bulk of the company’s activity has centered on connecting a roster of celebrities and athletes with advertisers and endorsement opportunities, and a research engine that analyzes daily activity for more than 36,000 celebs. BAT’s roster includes Drew Brees, Jorge Posada, Walt Frazier and more than 3,600 others, according to BAT. NetBAT blends the research engine with interactvity that can be added to editorial content using apps and services like YouTube and Twitter to increase engagement. It also adds access to more editorial content; hover over a netBAT-enabled image of Andy Pettite on a news site and make the picture into a puzzle or look at headlines from Bleacher Report. BAT has deals with quadrahtONE, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Getty Images, among others.
The total funding for BAT so far is unclear. That brings the total amount raised to $26 million. The pair has founded several successful companies, selling their dMarc Broadcasting digital radio business to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) in 2006 for $102 million in cash more than $400 million and a huge earnout that didn’t pan out.