VC Money Keeps Pouring In For Ad Targeters: Turn Raises $20 Million


Turn is the latest ad tech firm to greet the new year with a whopping sum of venture capital. The Silicon Valley-based company has raised $20 million in a fourth round funding, bringing its total raised to $57 million in the past five years. The round was led by Greenspring Associates. As both positive and negative attention is ramped up on the targeting space, Turn plans to use the proceeds to build out its technology offierings as well as pursue European expansion, said Bill Demas, Turn’s president and CEO, in an interview with paidContent.

The company last raised money about two-and-a-half years ago. All of Turn’s previous backers, Norwest Venture Partners, Trident Capital, Shasta Ventures and Focus Ventures took their full pro rata shares in this latest round.

The round comes as companies in the ad targeting and exchange space have netted big funding rounds. Just the other day, [x+1] said it raised a $10 million second round, while late last month, eXelate, which operates an open marketplace for audience targeting data, completed a $16 million second round it started in August. And in November, European ad re-targeter MyThings was able to secure $6 million in a third round of funding round

Many of those companies are relatively new compared to Turn, which was initially formed as an ad network in 2005. It has evolved and is now mostly known as a demand-side platform, though Demas feels that label is a bit too limiting. Certainly, a lot has changed in the real-time-bidding space since the company’s last $15 million funding round. Given those changes, plus the rising demand for online ad targeting, the company felt the need to tap investors for its biggest single round yet.

While Demas would not provide details about its revenues, in October, Business Insider said that the company’s revenues have doubled the past four years and we estimate that the company is on track to achieve revenues of between $70 – $80 million in revenue in 2010. BI speculated that Turn’s valuation was around $225 million by applying a 3x multiple for the ad tech firm.

To build on that, Turn will have its new European data center set up within the next six months. Demas also hinted at new products that are intended to diversify its presence, but he declined to go into specifics except to say it would be “disruptive.”

Demas isn’t too worried about efforts on Capitol Hill or by browsers to add a “Do Not Track” button to make targeting online consumers more difficult being “disruptive” to Turn’s business. “It is what it is,” he said. “Right now, anyone can delete their cookies through private mode. We don’t just serve behaviorally targeted ads. We’re looking at contextual, demographic, as well as behavioral. Cookies are a part of the business, not the whole thing.” He added that Turn promises transparency and is signed up with all the various clearing houses that ensure its openness and that it’s easy to opt-out if users want to.

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