Native-Ad Metrics Startup SimpleReach Raises $9 Million

Customers Include The New York Times and Forbes

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SimpleReach, a company that provides publishers like The New York Times and Forbes with measurement and distribution tools for their native ad programs, has raised $9 million in its first big round of financing, the company said Tuesday. With the new series A funds, SimpleReach plans to invest in what it called "the next generation of content measurement and distribution."

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to invest in a foundational player within the fast-growing native advertising market," said Kirk Wolfe, General Partner at MK Capital, which led the financing round, in a statement. Investments also came from Atlas Ventures, Village Ventures and High Peaks Venture Partners.

Native advertising, which seeks to more or less mimic the editorial content surrounding it, was until recently a tactic embraced mainly by digital-only startups like BuzzFeed and Mashable, plus a smattering of traditional publishers such as Forbes, a pioneer in the space.

This year, however, a number of large publishers including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times -- where editors had once scoffed at the practice -- introduced native ad products amid declining print revenue and a glut of digital-display inventory that has led to the rise of so-called programmatic ad buying technology. Publishers believe they can charge advertisers more for native programs; advertisers believe readers are more likely to notice the ads than traditional display ads.

SimpleReach also works with a number of large marketers, including Intel and Xerox, to help them measure and distribute their own content. And the latest round of funding is aimed at appealing to these clients. "SimpleReach is already the market leader for publishers, and this next phase will see accelerated growth in its business with agencies and brands," Mr. Wolfe said in a statement.

Its last round of funding came in 2012, when it raised $1.6 million.

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