As Twitter tries to build traction with its “promoted tweets” for marketers, other companies have sprung up recently to build a business on that system and others. One of the newest is 140 Proof, a startup focused on placing “sharable” ads within social media streams on Twitter, Facebook and others. The company recently completed a $2.5 million second round funding and is now building out a formal sales team with the hire of former Gawker and CollegeHumor exec Michael Cascio at the head of it.
Cascio will be based in New York and will be opening the San Francisco-based company’s New York office. He joins 140 Proof — the name refers to the number of characters that fits into a tweet — after three-and-a-half years at Gawker, where he served as director of sales.
Before Gawker, Cascio was VP of Sales at IAC’s CollegeHumor. He was brought in by the company’s founders early on and started CollegeHumor’s ad business from an office in a spare bedroom and eventually managing a staff of more than 50. He also participated in the negotiations that led to the sale of the company to IAC (NSDQ: IACI) in 2006.
Cascio’s hire is designed to raise the company’s profile as a number of companies in the social media ad space achieve more prominence, especially with ad agencies. Last week, for example, Buddy Media, a New York company that helps marketers advertise within Facebook, acquired social media analytics provider Spinback as part of its bid to boost its value to advertisers.
For 140 Proof, having an office in New York headed by a well-known digital ad sales exec should help expand its appeal quickly.
“Michael’s addition to the team completes our east, midwest, and west coast coverage for 140 Proof as we deliver on our transformational mission of unlocking the tens of billions of dollars of demand generation advertising spend in a measurable and efficient medium,” said 140 Proof CEO Jon Elvekrog in an e-mail to paidContent. “Michael brings to 140 Proof the brand advertising experience and relationships that will fuel our growth to a $100-million-business and beyond. He’ll continue to work closely with brands and agencies in the New York City market, showing brand marketers the benefits of advertising within the social stream, developing strategies that will help them reach their desired audience, and recruiting more advertisers to participate in this new medium.”