Kara Swisher

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Criteo Nabs $40 Million in Funding at $800 Million Valuation

Criteo, the performance display advertising company, just nabbed about $40 million in additional venture funding.

The Series D round, led by SoftBank Capital, gives the Paris-based company an $800 million valuation, according to sources, although Criteo declined to comment on the figure.

Previously, Criteo had raised just over $23 million from investors that include Bessemer Venture Partners and Index Ventures.

In an interview, CEO J.B. Rudelle said the money would be used for growing its footprint in the U.S., as well as Japan and Asia, more quickly.

The company has seen quick growth here and the market has already become profitable. But Rudelle said, “This funding is obviously a big step. We are going to use it to accelerate our efforts in key markets.”

Criteo now operates in 32 countries, he said, and it hopes to extend its global footprint as more companies are looking for better performance from online advertising.

“The need for performance to drive display advertising is enormous,” said Criteo president Greg Coleman, referring to “personalized retargeting,” which delivers highly targeted ads to consumers.

Ad tech such as Criteo has become a hot arena of late with larger companies such as Yahoo and Facebook interested in acquiring assets in the space.

For now, at least, it looks like Criteo filled its kitty to stay independent.

Here’s the official press release from Criteo:

Criteo completes €30 million Series D led by SoftBank Capital
Syndicate of investors includes Yahoo! JAPAN, SAP Ventures, Adams Street and Bessemer

NEW YORK — 26 SEPTEMBER 2012 — Criteo, the global leader in performance display advertising, today announced a €30 million round of financing led by SoftBank Capital to support the company’s hyper-growth trajectory.

Profitable since 2009, Criteo has continuously delivered growth, exceeding all forecasts since the company’s founding. The company now serves more than 3,000 advertisers worldwide, with the US being the number one revenue generating market. This new investment will help Criteo to continue reinventing the online display advertising market, with a goal of making it as efficient as search marketing.

JB Rudelle, CEO and Co-Founder of Criteo said: “In a period of high-growth for Criteo, this new financing enables us to invest substantially in innovation, technology and people. In addition, we are very excited to leverage the knowhow and footprint of SoftBank and Yahoo! JAPAN for our expansion in Asia, a very strategic region for us. Overall, the fact that such a sophisticated syndicate of investors has decided to join us is a powerful validation of our unique model.”

Matt Krna, Principal at SoftBank Capital added: “We are delighted to partner with Criteo and help the company extend its leadership in the cost-per-click performance display advertising sector, particularly in Japan and throughout Asia. In speaking with Criteo’s clients and partners, it became clear to us that the company’s analytical, performance-based model offers clear advantages to the entire online ad ecosystem, including consumers.” Mr. Krna will join Criteo’s board as an observer.

Recently Criteo announced an exclusive partnership with Yahoo! JAPAN — in terms of cost-per-click personalized display advertising, it is the first time that a third party technology company has had access to its inventory. To support its growth, Criteo has also recently invested in a state-of-the-art 100,000 square foot R&D centre in Paris, France.

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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