Simplifying Performance Marketing – Invests in Integrate

At the very end of last year we announced an investment in Integrate – a performance advertising platform company. Seth posted about it on his blog at the time and we meant to repost it here at FoundryGroup.com as well. Here it is:

Performance marketing has been both a very lucrative side of internet advertising but also a bit of the wild west, where rules are made to be stretched or broken (with alarming regularity). And while the simplicity of pay for performance has been attractive to many advertisers, diligence has been required to monitor the quality of the traffic and leads generated by performance marketers. In particular, control of creative assets and their appropriate use has been a concern for many advertisers. In addition, existing performance marketing platforms have been limited solely to online assets.

Enter Integrate – a platform that simplifies the execution of performance marketing campaigns and allows advertisers unprecedented control over their campaigns. Integrate places transparency into the marketplace for both publishers and buyers, allowing both to review one another’s business data before making an informed decision to work together. In addition, algorithms are built into Integrate to monitor deceitful practices that have previously plagued the industry. The Integrate platform provides legitimacy and basic regulation to an industry that has seriously lacked it. As a result, since its inception earlier this year, Integrate has attracted some of the largest internet performance advertisers as well as a number of well known retailers and brands who had not previously been significant buyers of performance based leads.

Today we’re announcing a $4.25M financing for the company that we believe will push its growth trajectory even higher. It joins a handful of adtech related investments in the Foundry portfolio (coming soon: my Foundry Unified Theory of AdTech Investing) that together are enabling online advertisers to better target specific users (AdMeld and Triggit), more effectively place media (Integrate and Trada) and access new publishers (Lijit) and media (Medialets).

Integrate was founded by Hart Cunningham and Jeremy Bloom, with whom I’ve had the fortune to work with over the last 5 months as this investment came together. These guys eat, breathe and sleep (literally – I think they have a cot in the office) performance marketing. I have a deep appreciation for passionate entrepreneurs and Jeremy and Hart fit this mold to a tee.

We’re looking forward to telling you more about Integrate as we continue to build and enhance the platform and add more and more advertisers and publishers to the Integrate platform.

Some additional coverage of the financing:

TechCrunch,

Mashable

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  • Marty Glenn

    I worked with Hart Cunningham on his first start up.  Actually funded him.  It was a blast. I am sure he has a cot in the office…its called a desk! I wish him the best. Marty.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BMKLGJHC5ER3IWDDOM7G2GMHC4 Edward

    Advertisers have the ability to manage publishers, but what
    Integrate.com fails to disclose, is that they also publish and sell leads. Check
    out their LinkedIn.com page to see the army of affiliate managers.  

     

    Hart Cunningham also has several arms reach companies,
    including allleads.com that service the very same advertisers that use the
    platform.  Any leads that were scrubbed
    from publishers could be sold out the back door through one of those
    companies.  The opportunity is there,
    regardless if they take advantage of it, and it’s a clear conflict of interest.

     

    Integrate.com is also in a conflicted position for having
    access to where its competitors source their leads, and likewise where their
    customers buy.  Because they sell host
    and post traffic, your data is viewed and stored on Integrate.com servers
    potentially creating a host of compliance issues.  Hart Cunningham’s track record in the lead
    business is also party sunny at best, and he is well known for his infamous
    Redmoss Media Days and challenged time with Juvio.com.

     

    As a publisher I would be hesitant to send my traffic to a
    platform where the opportunity exists for the platform to monetize it.  At least Leadpoint.com is upfront about there
    position and doesn’t have another side company that could profit from that very
    same traffic.  

     

    As an advertiser, I really don’t see larger companies
    managing their own spends on this type of platform when so many other third
    party solutions exist.  This might be a
    good idea for the smaller one-man shops working from home, but larger
    organizations have more economical options. 
    Perhaps this is the market Messrs Bloom and Cunningham were going
    after in the first place.  

     

    Integrate.com would be a cool idea if Jeremy and Hart were
    not in the lead selling business as well. 
    It is a clear conflict of interest to serve both their internal value of
    making money, and providing a platform simultaneously to those partners they
    are claiming to protect.