Millennial Media Raises $27.5M to Go Up Against Google, Apple

Funding Is Yet Another Sign That Mobile Ads Will Continue to Grow at Rapid Pace in 2011

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- With nearly $30 million in new funding, it looks like No. 3 mobile advertising network Millennial Media is going to stay solo for now -- even though its major competitors are Google and Apple.

The 4-year-old mobile ad network says it tripled revenue in 2010, which was a banner year for mobile advertising across the board. While a spokeswoman declined to provide specific revenue figures, research firm IDC puts Millennial's gross revenue for 2010 at $60 million. That places Millennial third in U.S. mobile display with 15.4% market share behind Google's 19% and Apple's 18.8%.

Paul Palmieri
Paul Palmieri
The Baltimore-based company today has announced an additional $27.5 million in growth equity funding, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Columbia Capital and Charles River Ventures. That brings funding to date to $65 million.

Under CEO Paul Palmieri, the company plans to build out its 2010 acquisition TapMetrics, an analytics company, and pursue further deals with the new round. While smartphone leaders Google and Apple have bought up mobile ad networks, rumors have circulated that Microsoft, which is lagging in the mobile ads race, has been eying Millennial for acquisition.

The funding is yet another sign that mobile ads will continue to grow at a rapid clip into 2011. Apple is prepping to accelerate growth for its iAds platform: it announced a tool for agencies and brands to create their own iAds without production help, which will likely speed up the process and get more of its mobile rich media ads on phones. We'll also begin to see iAds on iPad this year -- the company ran its first preview ads for Disney movie Tron Legacy in December.

That followed Google's touting the scale of its global mobile ads business: in October, the search giant reported it'd hit $1 billion in global mobile ads for 2010 (that figure, unlike the IDC projections quoted earlier, includes search as well as mobile display ads).

The mobile ad market got a jump start more than a year ago when Google and Apple acquired mobile ads networks Admob and Quattro Wireless, respectively. That momentum is expected to continue into 2011 -- the U.S. mobile advertising market is expected to hit $1 billion for the first time in 2011, according to eMarketer.

Millennial says its mobile ad network reaches more than 85% of U.S. mobile web users with 17 billion impressions per month. Globally, it extends to consumers in more than 250 countries.

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