Genesis Partners, an Israel-based fund focusing on seed stage investments, was the sole investor in a $3 million funding round of Innovid Media, developer of an innovative interactive video advertising platform. Following the investment, Genesis partner Jonny Saacks will join Innovid’s board. Jeff Pulver, known as the VOIP expert and organizer of the VON conference, was a seed investor in the company.
Innovid’s patent pending technology enables the injection of interactive creative objects into the video, creating new ways for product placement and user interaction in mililions of online videos. This is a unique model compared to the existing video advertising solutions, which display promo ads before, after or during the video. The market opportunity is huge: online video advertising is estimated to reach $4.3 Billion by 2011 in the US alone, according to e-Marketer. With its technology, Innovid hopes to attract professional video content producers, ranging from big studios to small online producers.
Innovid was founded by CEO Zvika Netter and CTO Tal Haluzin. The two who previously founded “Garage Geeks”, a community of Israeli technologists, started developing the product in 2006. The company was officially founded in Tel Aviv in July of 2007. Netter is a serial entrepreneur with 14 years of experience and a track record of four founded companies, one of which (NTR) was sold to Ness technologies in 2005. I was lucky to meet with Zvika when he visited San Francisco last year, and I got a quick preview of the product – the results were nothing less than very impressive. Innovid almost returned to the valley with the Israel web tour in January, but decided to postpone the trip.
Innovid’s main technology differentiator is the unintrusive nature of the ads. Video content producers will be able to define the advertising real estate and select the brands that will appear in the clip, based on their preference, similar to the way product placement is done on movies and television. Innovid virtually “injects” the animted objects only when the video is playing, offering the ability to dynamically change the advertising depending on the audience. As a result, the video itself becomes a multi purpose advertising space, that is tailored to the customer’s interest. You get the picture: better ads, effective advertising and higher conversion rates.
In the official PR, Genesis partner Jonny Saacks said:
“Innovid is being run by top-rate people from Israel’s Internet and technology community. Its target market has huge global potential, and we believe that the company’s innovative product will lead to the breakthrough for which the market has been waiting for a long time.”
The proceeds of the investment will be allocated to futher development of the technology platform and expand the sales and marketing infrastructure of Innovid, that will be based in New York. Other Israeli players in the field of video advertising include Ply Media, Orad Technologies and Adap TV.