With set-top TV boxes connected to the internet, search engine providers like Google and Microsoft are looking to deploy targeted ads, much like targeted ads seen online when browsing. Back in 2007 Google signed a deal with DISH network to provide targeted ad services.
After a dispute about inventory, Google reportedly almost walked away from DISH, according to the Business Insider. Then Microsoft showed some interest.
Overnight Google began looking for ways to renew the contract and avoid getting outmaneuvered by its smaller rival.
Google approached Invidi, a New York City company that works on “addressable” TV ads (targeted ads). Invidi said it would only partner with Google if the company invested in it. Google Ventures, Google's VC wing, and Google corporate investment both initially passed on the deal. However, in the eleventh hour Google corporate investment reconsidered and agreed to fund the startup.
Google has reportedly given between $10M and $15M USD in capital to bring Invidi's D round financing haul up to $23M USD. Other investors this round included WPP’s GroupM, Motorola (MOT), Menlo Ventures, InterWest Partners and EnerTech Capital. With the $23M USD, Invidi is now worth an impressive $85M USD.
Interestingly, according to Peter Kafka of All Things Digital, a source close to the negotiations claims that the DISH deal isn't directly involved. Even if this is the case, though, it seems likely that Google will soon leverage its Invidi partnership to help with the increasingly lucrative prospect of directed TV advertising, something many view as the "holy grail" of web marketing.
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