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Widgetbox Rebrands As Display Platform Flite, Raises $12 Million

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Ad tech firm Flite (fka Widgetbox) has raised $12 million third round as it completes its rebranding from a community for widget developers to one that serves as a display ad platform.

The round was led by General Catalyst Partners, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Hummer Winblad and NCD Investors.

The San Francisco company is the latest to provide a cloud-based advertising platform that lets marketers to create interactive ads that can be studied and altered in real-time so as to provide better engagement. Among Flite’s publishing partners are such names as LinkedIn, Forbes, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS) and IDG.

“Online display ads have, for the most part, remained unchanged since they first came into existence more than a decade ago,” said Will Price, CEO of Flite.

A number of other companies agree. As display has made a strong recovery over the past year, more marketers are willing to look at it as a branding medium. It isn’t there yet, since “engagement” is still a rather nebulous concept (“Does it mean someone clicked an ad or just brushed their cursor over it?”). Now that the dollars are flowing into companies like Flite, there are going to be greater demands to get some clarity around engagement. And the companies that best define it will be the big winners, hence the amount of venture capital being directed at Flite and others.

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