Sharethrough founder and CEO Dan Greenberg is one of the more vocal evangelists of the native advertising talk that has recently bubbled up. While native advertising isn’t an easy sell to media buyers who typically prefer traditional buying methods, the online video advertising startup has grown its revenue 87 percent year over year, and Greenberg expects Sharethrough to pull in $40 million in revenue next year.
But to hit and potentially surpass that projection, Sharethrough needs to add more tier-one publishers to its new platform, which places branded videos alongside publishers’ editorial content. To that end, the company has raised $5 million in its latest funding round, which was led by previous investors North Bridge Venture Partners and Floodgate.
The key to getting premium publishers on board is showing them how a customized version of Sharethrough’s ad units would look, Greenberg said. The company’s platform has three template units, but if Sharethrough wants to pitch USA Today, for example, it needs to modify those units to make them specific to USA Today’s site layout. “It’s so early right now that I want to handcraft all of this,” he said. “In two years hopefully it will all be computer-generated. But if I want to craft it perfectly with the exact right layout, I would rather craft it by hand.”
Sharethrough has see-sawed in and out of profitability, Greenberg said, so the funding round will help the company finance product testing. At a more concrete level, that means Greenberg is looking to grow its publisher development team as well its 16-person New York office. And the hiring has already begun. In June former Auditude chief revenue officer Mike Gaffney joined Sharethrough in the same position, bringing with him sales experience honed at Right Media and then Yahoo after the portal acquired the exchange.