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Optimal gets $7M Series B for social media advertising

Social media advertising and analytics platform also announces new Chief Financial Officer

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
January 22, 2013 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2d0f

(Updated to reflect comment from Optimal)

Social media advertising and analytics platform Optimal has raised $7 million in Series B funding, it was announced Tuesday. 

Existing investors Neu Ventures, Stonnington Asset Allocation Fund, and WGI Group all participated in the funding round. New investors in the company included DoubleRock, The Social Internet Fund, Siemer Ventures, Signal Ventures, John Pappajohn, former GoDaddy CEO Warren Adelman , Social Starts, James Altucher and Silicon Valley Bank. The company previously raised a $600,000 Series A in 2008.

The money will be used to hire new workers in the sales, marketing and engineering divisions, Optimal founder and CEO, Rob Leathern, told VatorNews. It will also be used to continue the company's expansion to new markets in the Southeast, the West coast and Western Europe, expanding beyond its current operation in London.

The company also announced that Suraj Kumar Rajwani of DoubleRock, along with James Altucher, will both be joining the company's board of directors, and that Paul Suh has joined the company as its Chief Financial Officer.

"I'm excited to join Optimal as an investor and board member. They have the most efficient platform for reaching and managing a brand's reach across social media. In other words, I selfishly use them for my own purposes," Altucher said in a statement. "Additionally, they are a one-stop shop for me to buy media across social platforms, including Facebook retargeting. I had been looking for this, so I invested."  

Paul was most recently SVP of Finance and Operations at LiveGamer, a digital commerce and video gaming advertising platform. Prior to that, hewas the CFO and COO of GamerDNA Media, a company that was  acquired by Live Gamer in June 2010. He also spent three years as the COO of Flexplay Technologies and director of corporate development at About.com.

San Francisco-based Optimal was founded in 2008 as Xa.net, a name it, thankfully, decided to change in April 2012.

It is a startup dedicated to helping brands and advertisers manage social advertising campaigns in real-time. The company offers both a platform for buying Facebook ads, as well as an analytics suite that allows customers to measure things like brand engagement. It is also a part of Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Director program, which allows it to enhance the social media research, buying, and optimization process. It provides both full service and self-service options to accommodate the varying needs of different organizations.

What makes the company stand out, Leathern says, it is unique analytics tools on it self-service Optim.al platform, which was introduced in December. Features include Facebook Insights integration, Facebook Exchange dynamic retargeting, and Custom Audiences API..

Optimal's audience-based ad technologies have managed and optimized over 100 billion impressions for advertisers and agencies. The company's customers include large advertisers and advertising agencies, as well as individual customers, Leathern says.

The company also has offices in Palo Alto, New York, and Chicago.

Competition

As social networks have continued to expand their influence, the space for social media analytics has been pretty hot the last year or two, with some pretty big names being snatched up, and other bringing in money.

In March of 2011, Salesforce bought Canadian social media monitoring platform Radian6 for $326 million. The company then purchased Buddy Media, a company that creates social media analytics for brands, for $689 million in June of 2012. New Optimal board member James Altucher was an early investor in Buddy Media.

Buddy Media helps maintain advertising, ads and pages on social networks. While it is best known for its work with ad-targeting for Facebook, Buddy Media also utilizes Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

In November, Social analytics company SocialBakers secured $6 million in a Series B funding from Index Ventures, with additional funding from existing investor Earlybird Venture Capital.

Socialbakers current products include Socially Devoted, a service that measures the quality of customer service in social media channels.

Socialbaker created Socially Devoted in order to help companies that have created official social networks to work with and for its customers, and works with them to improve customer relations.

(Image source: http://www.optimalsocial.com)


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