The two back-to-back events in the mobile advertising space is not a coincidence, said Paul Palmieri, Millennial Media’s President and CEO. “There’s two things that happened in the last week, and that’s a big indicator that something is about to pop here…You don’t put together a funding in a week. We had high interest in the company, and we had a competitive process…The way I look at it is that they are two very independent, but significant things that happened in the span of a week.”
The third round was led by a new investor, NEA, and the company’s existing investors, Columbia Capital, Charles River Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners also participated. In all, the Baltimore-based company has raised $37.3 million.
Since being founded in 2006, Millennial has grown its reach to 51.7 million unique mobile users, according to the company’s October report being released today. As part of the report, Millennial claims it reached nearly 80 percent of the mobile web—based on the 64.8 million overall users estimated by Nielsen. Of course, that does not mean that other ad networks didn’t reach those users too. In fact, in a Nielsen report issued for the month earlier, Millennial had the largest audience, trumping Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), which had 37.5 million unique visitors; Google, which had 35.4 million; Microsoft’s MSN, which had 34.6 million; and AdMob had 34.2 million. (These industry numbers are compiled by Nielsen, but can not be considered completely accurate because the numbers are self-reported. Nielsen does not distribute the numbers because of the accuracy concerns, but the results are regularly leaked to reporters.)
Asked whether Millennial was considering a sale, rather than raising funding, Palmieri said no. “Great companies are bought and not sold. Based on the valuation that AdMob received, it was bought. I’m focused on my company growing and being the market leader and being as successful as we can be. Whatever happens from there happens.” Millennial will use the capital to expand globally, including in Europe, and hiring engineers and more sales staff. Palmieri said the company was at the point where it was going to turn a profit, but instead decided to delay it for awhile so they can grow faster. They have plans to hire 15 engineers immediately and a handful of people in London, where they already have two employees. Over the next year, they’ll probably double their size of their sales force, although will adjust it based on performance. In general, he said there needs to be more sales people across the entire industry because publishers and advertisers need to be educated about the space. “That number has to quadruple in the next year as an industry, as we educate the number of brands out there.”
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