Native Video Ad Startup Buzzoola Raises $2 Million From I2BF Global Ventures, Launches U.S. Operations
Bolstered by Client Demand in Russia and Eastern Europe, Buzzoola Moves Sales and Operations Base to New York City and Hires President of North America Market
NEW YORK, June 5, 2014-- Buzzoola Inc., the leading native video advertising platform in Russia and Eastern Europe, today announced $2 million in seed funding from I2BF Global Ventures' I2BF Digital investment arm and its entry into the U.S. market with the opening of a New York office. Since launching its first product a year ago, Buzzoola has completed native video advertising campaigns for many Fortune 500 companies, including Unilever Russia, Ukraine and Belarus — for their brands Axe, Dove, and Cornetto (known as Good Humor in the United States) — and Asics.
Buzzoola's native video advertising platform provides a solution for a rapidly growing number of companies orienting their marketing campaigns around customer's actual media consumption patterns — on social media platforms using mobile devices. BIA/Kelsey estimates that in the United States native ad spending on social media will grow from an annual amount of $2.4 billion in 2013 to $5 billion by 2017, making up about 42 percent of total social ad spending.
"The explosive growth in the native video advertising market has driven more and more brands to seek out tools that enable them to have a global reach," said Natalia Solodukhova, CEO of Buzzoola. "Establishing a presence in New York City just made sense given that Buzzoola's biggest clients are headquartered here and we want to service their growing needs at both a local and global level."
The most recent $2 million investment is the second tranche of a $4 million seed round from I2BF Digital. The funds will be used to finance the development and launch of Buzzoola's next generation product as well as support its U.S. market launch. I2BF Digital is aimed at early-stage digital IT startups in the United States, Eastern Europe and South Korea. Current portfolio companies include ServiceTitan, Prizeo, ElaCarte and GetGoing.
"As a startup establishing global roots early and focused on developing a product that fits for multiple markets, Buzzoola is the ideal representation of our I2BF Digital portfolio," said Ilya Golubovich, founding and managing partner of I2BF Global Ventures. "By enabling marketers to engage with a highly-targeted consumer group, while improving brand perception in a way that isn't distracting from the user experience, Buzzoola is perfectly suited to drive the burgeoning native advertising trend into video platforms."
Buzzoola has hired Jane Roy as the president of North America and head of the New York office. Roy brings 17 years of experience in managing sales and marketing strategies at various media agencies and national brands, including Undertone, Experian, Proclivity Systems, TRAFFIQ and Datran Media. The office will consist of sales and campaign management teams, while engineering and development staff will continue to operate out of the Russia and Ukraine locations.
"Buzzoola's CEO and I are very excited to work with U.S. brands seeking to extend their advertising to the next level with our customizable, real-time and transparent network," said Roy. "We believe that Buzzoola's technology, which among other benefits can specifically target customer segments and be pushed out to different devices, gives us a unique competitive edge over the local players and positions the company well to become a leader in the booming native video ad market."
Buzzoola is a private native advertising exchange that empowers brands of all sizes and categories to quickly and easily distribute video content to be seen and shared across a specially curated brand-safe network of sites, mobile apps and social games. The platform provides the technology for instant campaign deployment delivering viewership for content owners, engagement for brands and relevance for consumers. Buzzoola's clients include Fortune 500 brands, media agencies and major entertainment companies. Founded in 2011, Buzzoola has offices in New York and Moscow. Over its three year history the company has raised more than $4 million in venture seed funding from I2BF Digital (www.i2bfdigital.com) and angel investors. www.buzzoola.com
About I2BF Global Ventures
Established in 2005, I2BF Global Ventures is an international technology focused venture capital firm with a global investment mandate. The mission of I2BF Global Ventures is to seek out innovative and competitive companies, targeting sectors and technologies it believes can lead the path to a "Brighter Future". Since the first portfolio company investment in 2006, I2BF Global Ventures has successfully completed 24 transactions, and manages more than $300 million across four venture capital vehicles. In keeping with its worldwide investment focus, I2BF Global Ventures retains a team of technology and sector experts in New York, London, Moscow and Astana to ensure a truly global venture capital strategy and a hands-on management approach. www.I2BF.com
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