What makes video so compelling as a medium? From the days of the first “talkie” movie, the combination of sight, sound, and motion has proven irresistible to the viewer. We believe it is because this is the ideal channel to transmit information in the way humans are best able to comprehend it – stories. Stories captivate the imagination and draw the audience in to become emotionally invested in the message. This art of storytelling has evolved alongside a rapidly changing technology environment to adapt to our newest form of the medium – digital video. With improvement in bandwidth, mobile networks, and smart device penetration, digital video is beginning to have the scale and reach to move truly large audiences.
With these foundational elements in place, the online video market has exploded over the past few years. Today, video content is a full 50% of total Internet time spent, and its estimates put growth at anywhere from 30-40% year over year. Video content production costs have fallen dramatically, enabling individual content creators to rival the production quality of studios at a fraction of the cost from just 5 years ago. On the monetization end, video is widely viewed as the fastest growing market opportunity. It combines the storytelling ability of TV with the measurability of online advertising – a combination that is proving irresistible for brands and agencies. The floodgates have already opened for other legacy channels like print and classifieds moving to digital, and we believe TV’s time has finally come.
The early, and runaway, success in this market to date has been YouTube. YouTube’s massive audience, brand-safe environment, and deep library of high-quality content has proven to be the right formula to attract both brand and direct response advertisers at scale.That said, buying video advertising on YouTube is a different animal from display, mobile, or even other online video inventory.
The sheer volume of data that exists within YouTube provides almost unlimited targeting information, but adds to the complexity of running a campaign. With literally millions of channels to choose from, scores of ad formats, and hundreds of other variables to target against: how can an advertiser optimize a campaign against their specific campaign goals? And how can they do it at scale across multiple campaigns, time periods, and potential audiences?
This is where Pixability comes in. Pixability has built the single largest data asset of YouTube videos, channels, and performance statistics in the world. Pixability’s software platform is able to harness this asset in realtime to automate ad buys programmatically and optimize allocation of budget in real-time based on its analytics solution. In other words, it takes a highly manual process which was based on best-guesses and rules of thumbs and applies real science against it. At the end of the day, the streamlined workflow and optimization drives orders of magnitude improvement in advertisers performance on YouTube.
This week, we were happy to announce our investment in Pixability’s $18.2M Series C. This round will help them double down behind a formula that has proven successful and replicate it more broadly across the advertising ecosystem, including internationally. We’ve invested in an array of adtech companies over the past decade, and believe Pixability is riding the next big wave.
Why did we invest?
Market: The market today is large by any measure, and is growing faster than any other subsector in the industry.
Traction: Their strategy and technology have been validated by both F500 brands like Gillette, Walgreens, L’Oréal USA, PUMA, Viacom, and even Google itself as customers. Agencies like Publicis Groupe, Mindshare and Omnicom’s Resolution Media have also been quick to jump on board and leverage Pixability’s solution for their own clients.
Team: Moreso than the product or market, it was the team that hooked us on Pixability. We connected with Bettina Hein almost 5 years ago back when the company was focused on helping SMBs leverage YouTube better and have followed her progress ever since. A successful entrepreneur in Europe with a $100M exit under her belt already, her drive and determination to drive for a homerun on a global stage blew us away. Bettina has single-handedly built one of the most impressive management teams we have come across, and has that special ability to “punch way above her weight class” in attracting talent.
Given the above, when the opportunity to back her and partner with great investors like Jump Capital and Point Judith came up, it was an easy decision to join the team. I’m looking forward to joining the board and helping Bettina build the next great success in online video!