Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

What Ad Network Problem? Vungle Raises $6.5 Million for Mobile Video Ads.

vungle screenshot 2Public investors aren’t very excited about ad networks and ad technology. But private money is still placing bets.

The newest: A $6.5 million A round for Vungle, a mobile ad network focused on “in-app” ads.

The last time we had heard from Vungle, a little more than a year ago, they had raised a $2 million seed round from folks like CrossLink Capital, Google Ventures and AOL Ventures. Now CrossLink is leading the new round, and Google, AOL and earlier investors are back, as well.

Vungle’s main pitch is to app developers who want to promote their programs inside other people’s programs. But the company has also been branching out into more conventional brand advertisers, too.

CEO Zain Jaffer said he’s well aware of the trouble other ad networks are having when they go public — he put money into Tremor Media and YuMe, and both of those have been duds — but he argues that by combining mobile and video and in-app ads, he’s doing something different.

It’s hard to imagine his big competitors leaving him much room — Facebook in particular has been talking up its success as an app advertising platform — but Jaffer does say he’s growing fast: He said his ads have been viewed two billion times in the last year.

And here’s what a Vungle ad looks like. Perhaps you’ve heard of the game they’re advertising:


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus