GumGum gets $22m funding boost for AI-powered contextual ads

Feb 17, 2020 | Ad tech, Artificial intelligence

GumGum gets $22m funding boost for AI-powered contextual ads
Contextual advertising company, GumGum has successfully closed a $22 million funding round, with global marketing veteran and former CMO at Live Nation, Lisa Licht joining the company's Board of Directors.

Licht’s addition comes as the company ramps up to launch several new technologies in 2020 and on the heels of two key growth milestones––record $155M global revenue in 2019 and a $22M Series-D funding round.

“We are extremely pleased to have Lisa join our board and eagerly await her contributions,” said GumGum CEO Phil Schaeder. “Not only does Lisa add a fresh new voice to the board at a time when we’ve made diversity a central all-around priority at GumGum, but she gives us unique access to all her hardwon insight accrued over a remarkable career.”

Licht is currently a marketing and brand partnership consultant for AllBright, Illumination Animation, the Metrograph and Exploding Kittens. Prior to branching into consultancy, she was CMO at Live Nation Concerts and led award winning marketing campaigns at Mattel, 20th Century Fox, Hasbro and Yahoo.

“Lisa’s experience transforming businesses and inspiring creative innovation at some of the world’s most successful companies will be an asset to GumGum and our partners,” added Schraeder. “She understands what our clients are looking for when it comes to reaching their consumers across the digital landscape as well as how quickly that landscape is changing with the cookie die-off. In Lisa, we have someone who can help our clients and her peers navigate a world without cookies.”

Licht’s appointment is the latest in a series of moves by Schraeder –– including closing the $22M expansion round with participation from the company’s existing investors –– aimed to maximise the growth of GumGum’s core marketing-related businesses. The company expects to eclipse its best-ever 2019 revenues with continued global expansion and two new products in 2020.
GumGum’s new In-Video ad unit –– a non-interruptive alternative to pre- and mid-roll ads –– which has seen early adoption from several key brands, including Sprint, is being primed for a Q2 2020 industry-wide launch.

Meanwhile, Verity for Publishers, a contextual targeting and brand safety solution, was officially introduced last month. It is the first solution of its kind to simultaneously leverage computer vision and natural language processing for full-page content-level analysis of web content. The company plans to release a buy-side version of the product, Verity for Brands, later this year.
Since its founding in 2008, GumGum has been bullish on contextual advertising and has invested heavily in image and natural language technologies needed to accurately and safely target audiences without user data. That investment is paying off as data regulations and web browsers have begun limiting advertisers’ use of cookies to track individual users for ad targeting.

“As I see it, this is the ideal time to get behind GumGum,” Licht said. “They have outpaced the market in terms of growth year-after-year, maintained profitability and now there’s an obvious inflection point at hand for contextual advertising in digital. That’s an area where GumGum already has a significant edge, so I’m looking forward to helping expand its lead in that area, while also contributing to success across the full breadth of GumGum’s business.”

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