Announcing VidMob’s Series D
Amidst a seemingly never-ending stream of negative news in the marketing world these days, as we all collectively wrestle with a slowing economy, inflationary pressures, and a loss of ad effectiveness in the wake of ATT and cookie deprecation, I’m excited to buck the trend and announce something positive. Actually, from VidMob’s perspective, something really positive. We just closed our Series D, adding $110 million in new capital to further accelerate the growth of our business, and the development of our platform for Intelligent Creative. And while closing rounds like this is always exciting, the fact that it was led by Shamrock Capital, one of the smartest investors in the marketing technology and advertising space, makes us even more thrilled about what lies ahead.
Originally the family office for Roy Disney, Shamrock is a leading growth equity investor and has been investing in our industry for over 40 years. The relationships and experience that come from that history positions them incredibly well to help us further our efforts to develop this nascent category, as we steadily progress towards our goal of building the OS for Intelligent Creative.
What exactly is the OS for Intelligent Creative, you might ask? It’s a platform designed to help every marketer marry data and creativity in a way that helps them make more informed creative decisions, implement them quickly and thereby unlock the true power of creative to drive improved business performance. It’s not just about advertising. And it’s not just about social platforms: it’s a realization that the creative underlies ALL digital communications, from paid advertising, to organic, to merchandising and total commerce experience, and finally CRM. All of the creative can be analyzed once the right technology is in place, and improved based on that data. That’s where VidMob comes in.
And while Shamrock is leading our Series D, they are not alone. This round also included investments from many existing investors including ID Fund, Drive by Draftkings, Swingbridge, Transformation Ventures, Jetty Cove, and Herington LLC, as well as new investors including Proof Ventures and eGateway Capital. We couldn’t be more excited to work with them all to accelerate the growth of VidMob.
Going from Point C to Point D
When we closed our Series C in January of 2021 and added the backing of a number of important strategics, including Adobe and Shutterstock, VidMob was still a relatively small company. We had a little over 100 employees, and while we were beginning to expand into LATAM and EMEA, we were still a US-first company. And Intelligent Creative was still a long way from being a real category.
In the 18 months that followed, we made incredible progress on a number of fronts:
- We more than tripled our headcount.
- We became a truly global company, expanding significantly in LATAM and EMEA, as well as establishing a presence in Singapore.
- We made massive strides in the development of our platform, launching creative scoring and completing our first acquisition, adding the brilliant, female-founded creative automation platform, Chiligum.
- We saw our subscription revenue grow by over 490%.
- We began partnering with agencies and licensing our platform for Intelligent Creative to them so that they could offer scaled, data-informed digital creative to their clients.
- We launched a specialized offering targeting the mid-market, led by a newly-hired, brilliant 13-year Facebook veteran, Matty de Castro.
- We hired our new CMO, Andrea Ward (Adobe, Magento, Oracle), our SVP of Corporate Development and Partnerships, Scott Hannan (Meta, Pinterest), our VP of EMEA Enterprise, Anthony Lamy (Meta, Saatchi & Saatchi), our VP of Product Marketing, Craig Peasley (Adobe, Magento, eBay), and most recently, our CFO, Sharmila Patel (Health IQ, Ten-X, Yahoo).
- We grew our client-direct NRR to over 180%, the clearest metric possible to show just how much value our platform was providing to our growing list of clients.
- We saw growth accelerate for the 3rd and 4th consecutive years
- And most importantly, we saw real progress in the development of the category, as Intelligent Creative grew from a category of 1, to now one of the most exciting spaces in software.
Finding the Right Partner
But even though we’ve made a lot of progress, everyone here is clear that we are still in the earliest stages of development. To truly be the OS for Intelligent Creative, we will have to build and deploy our API for Intelligent Creative into a lot of places outside of VidMob.com. How many? Well, our view is that in much the same way that the first 25 years of the internet’s development saw payment and security friction underly everything, as the digital world progresses from text and images to video, then AR, and then the metaverse beyond that, creative friction will be the new omnipresent tax on the whole system. So, I guess the answer to how many is, ‘A lot’.
As we started looking for the right partner, that meant balancing the patience required to build a truly foundational technology over a sustained period of focused effort, the discipline to ensure that it was not just a great platform, but a great business as well, with the often-overlooked appreciation of human creativity. The last piece is the part that so many miss.
In the AI world, there’s a saying that people often mistakenly believe that AI will steal their job, and it won’t. But someone who uses it better than them will. Our view has always been that there is nowhere that this is more true than in the field of creativity. The human touch is what leads to unique, emotionally resonant communications that set a brand apart from its competitors. Therefore, the goal of our platform has to be to support and augment creativity, not replace it. As we automate more and more, that just creates space for new kinds of creativity. But even more importantly, by building a platform to bring the two together –data and creativity, signal and action—we are able to construct loops of insight and actions that form the basis of our ML learning models. With Shamrock’s decades of experience investing in content, entertainment, advertising and marketing technology, they were uniquely positioned to understand our services-in-the-loop vision and why it’s so important that VidMob is an AND company, data & creativity.
How Will We Use this New Capital?
The short answer is that we will use it to deliver more value to our clients and partners. We see more and more stories daily like this one with L’Oreal’s Chira Schaad about how Intelligent Creative is transforming their businesses. When we hear stories like this, it makes us more driven than ever to keep improving our platform to expand Intelligent Creative’s ability to improve the effectiveness of all types of communications.
This will include:
- Expanding the array of 3rd party data partners to include more behavior vectors beyond the direct response platform metrics – eg. Brand lift, offline sales, etc. – as we continue to build towards creative measurement for holistic business outcomes.
- Bringing creative intelligence to Augmented Reality and other formats
- Expanding our ability to integrate with popular clean rooms, enabling easier work with client first-party data assets
- Expanding Intelligent Creative throughout the whole commerce journey, especially with current partners like Amazon
- Continuing to build meaningful partnerships with leading agencies so that their clients can get the double benefit of agency know-how and Intelligent Creative.
- Building VidMob’s technology into key parts of the content supply chain, so that we can collectively turn it into an intelligent content supply chain.
- And much, much more.
The Future of Intelligent Creative
For an optimist, the future is always bright – even when there are dark clouds on the horizon. And it is certainly true that these are challenging times for marketers. First, a decade’s worth of investments in ad tech largely focused on media-side targeting optimization are losing effectiveness rapidly in the face of ATT and broader signal loss. But creative has always been the more important driver of results. Now it’s time for it to be smarter and work harder. Second, advertising budgets are being cut – as they always are when times get tough. Paradoxically, this is particularly acute for the best platforms, as auction-based systems make it easier to ramp up spending, and ramp down. But sales don’t have to shrink in lockstep with those cuts. Intelligent Creative offers a tool to increase performance, oftentimes more than making up for the lower media spend. And third, everyone is struggling with the overwhelming complexity of trying to tell consistent brand stories across an increasingly diverse array of media channels, all with different audiences in different mindsets. Attempting to do this is nearly impossible in the best of times, but it’s even worse when production budgets are scrutinized. But again, Intelligent Creative has an answer. Creative scoring and appropriately utilized creative automation are enabling forward-thinking marketers to meet this moment head on and turn it into an advantage.
As an industry, we are evolving from the struggle of trying to scale creative into the opportunity of harnessing the power to understand creative. And with Shamrock and the others who have decided to join us at our back, the VidMob team is thrilled to be accelerating even faster down an already exciting path.
Learn more about our Series D round.