As part of the funding, media giant Publicis Groupe’s digital unit VivaKi will be bringing Flite technology to Publicis Groupe’s agencies.
Flite has already been working with Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group for two years, which set the stage for this new funding and partnership. While Flite has not detailed the brands it has worked with there, Starcom MediaVest represents major brands such as Coca Cola, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble and Walmart. The deal with VivaKi will give Flite exposure to that caliber of large global brands.
Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, General Catalyst and Conde Nast also participated in the funding, which was on the same terms as its last funding. The company has previously raised more than $27 million.
Flite’s technology enables advertisers and agencies to incorporate new content, such as text, images or video, into their display ads for desktop and mobile on a real-time basis. It also gives agencies the ability to quickly create their own creatives.
This means that brands can have interaction with customers and engage with them through display ads on the topics that are timely on a particular day or week. In the past they’d wait for months for new campaigns to be launched. In other words, it makes display ads more like social channels such as Facebook or Twitter. As a result, advertisers see a substantial lift in engagement, says Will Price, CEO of Flite.
“What really gets brands excited is historically it’s taken them three, four, or eight weeks to go from an idea to seeing it in the market,” Price says. “It may take as long as eight months. Now you can do that on a daily basis–and at scale.”
Scale is important to the large agencies with which VivaKi works. VivaKi Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Rishad Tobaccowala said in a prepared statement that Flite could end up at an even better spot than companies in the hot social marketing that have recently been acquired: “Recent acquisitions of similar companies were quite bullish (Buddy Media for $745m and Vitrue for $300m). Flite is in an even better strategic position in the market of paid media publishing. This market is still in its infancy, with potential to be massive.”
Flite last raised funding from Conde Nast in August, showing its support from the publisher side of the ad equation. (Disclosure: Forbes also uses Flite.) Now with Publicis on board it has deep ties with the buy side as well. The VivaKi partnership is not exclusive, so Flite is also looking to sign up other agencies and advertisers.
Iris Capital has previously invested in mobile startups such as Lookout and MoPub.