Mobile Ad Network Millennial Media Raises $27.5 Million to Fight Apple and Google

Millennial Media, which is often considered the largest independent mobile ad network in the U.S., has raised $27.5 million.

The funding comes from Bessemer Venture Partners, Columbia Capital, Charles River Ventures and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

To date, the Baltimore-based company has raised $65 million. But that hardly seems sufficient when fighting Goliaths like Apple and Google, which both made multimillion-dollar acquisitions last year in the space.

Previously, CEO Paul Palmieri said it was Millennial’s intention to stay an independent company, and therefore aim for an IPO. Is $65 million enough?

The funds will be used for acquisitions in 2011, and to invest in the company’s international business, which is considered smaller than its competitors’, such as Google’s. So far, it has built a team in London, and has begun to expand to the Asia-Pacific region.

Market share statistics are notoriously poor in the space, but in December, IDC estimated that Millennial was the largest independent mobile ad network at 15.4 percent, trailing behind Apple with 18.8 percent share and Google/AdMob with 19 percent share. Millennial’s share was estimated to be larger than Yahoo’s 10.1 percent share.

Millennial declined to give specific numbers, but said it achieved “operational profitability” in 2010, and tripled its revenues during the year.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work