Monday, November 16, 2009

Millennial Media Raises $16 M on the Heels of the Google-AdMob Deal

Millennial Media Inc., one of the leading mobile ad networks, has raised $16 million in new funding, a piece of news that comes only a week after Google announced plans to buy AdMob.

The Series C round of funding was led by venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, along with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Columbia Capital and Charles River Ventures. All told, Baltimore, MD-based Millennial Media has raised $21.3 million since its launch in May 2006, including a Series B round in October 2007.

Millennial Media runs mobile display ads for advertisers such as Paramount Pictures, EA, Stella McCartney, Microsoft, Marriott, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, Procter & Gamble and Sprint.

Publishers within Millennial Media’s network include ABC, News Corp., MTV Networks, CBS, IAC and AccuWeather.

The company will also hire new sales and engineering talent, as well as deploy developer monetization programs for handset manufacturers and operating systems providers and wireless carriers.Millennial Media will use the extra funds to expand its two-year-old London office to support a renewed push in the European market. Besides this office and the headquarters, the company has outposts in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

In addition, Millennial Media will invest in technology, data and research to bring more mobile clarity to advertisers.

Banner year for networks
The Millennial Media announcement comes in the midst of hectic repositioning and rethinking among the key mobile ad networks.

In addition to Millennial Media and AdMob, the other brand-advertiser-focused network players include Yahoo, Google, Quattro Wireless and Microsoft, as well as Jumptap, AOL, Mojiva, Crisp Wireless, Greystripe, InMobi and Nokia.

According to Nielsen data for September, Millennial Media reaches 80 percent of mobile Web users.

With its intention to buy AdMob, a specialist in mobile ads for iPhone sites and applications, search giant Google has proved that mobile is intricately linked to advertising’s future (see story).

News of the AdMob acquisition has forced most major online and mobile advertising players to reexamine their market strategies.