- Innovid, the advertising and analytics startup focused on connected TV (CTV), has acquired the display advertising software company Herolens, according to news shared with Marketing Dive. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported Innovid paid $30 million in equity and cash for the firm.
- Based in Latin America and founded four years ago, Herolens offers self-service, hybrid and full-service display solutions for brands, and has worked with clients including Coca-Cola, Renault and Mercado Libre. The company, which is profitable, has 40 employees with specialties that touch across data-driven creative personalization, asset management and ad serving.
- Herolens will continue to operate its Buenos Aires offices, which will become Innovid's headquarters for Latin American business, with representatives in Mexico and Colombia. Herolens' co-founders Alan Karpovsky, Cristian Pereyra and José Galindo will join Innovid's team.
Display advertising and CTV may seem an odd pairing, but Innvoid's acquisition shows how quickly traditionally siloed digital marketing channels are converging. With that convergence, the demand from brands for omnichannel solutions that make tracking the consumer easier increases.
"We've heard first-hand from our clients, the world's largest TV spenders, the need to leverage data to connect all channels, including TV," Zvika Netter, Innvoid's CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. "We continue to lead with the most advanced TV and video capabilities in the market, while also providing brands their desired goal of a single stack via adding support for display ads."
For Innovid, the deal is also a way to shore up strength against larger digital advertising platforms pushing further into its territory. In the release, Netter noted advertisers' desire for a "global independent alternative" to what he referred to as a "duopoly" of Google and Amazon.
The comments echo other rhetoric that's appeared in ad tech recently as smaller firms have been acquired and funding gets harder to come by. Innovid has fared better than many of its peers, securing $30 million from Goldman Sachs for the purposes of expansion in January, per the Journal, but it's clear that anxieties around Big Tech's encroachment persist.
Amazon earlier this year purchased the ad server of Sizmek, which was previously the world's largest independent ad server and one of the few players that gave Google's DoubleClick real competition. Ycor, a smaller holding company that owns Weborama, briefly made a bid for Sizmek's assets, with partner Alain Lévy stating that the strategy was to prevent the formation of a duopoly in the ad serving space. Ycor dropped its bid for Sizmek's assets in mid-June.
Innovid buying Herolens comes as the company plans to go public in the next two years, according to the Journal, and as the CTV space quickly expands. High-profile brands are investing more in the channel, including Volvo and Pringles, the latter of which worked with Innovid and CBS Interactive on a campaign around the Super Bowl that linked TV commercial viewing with QR codes scanned via mobile phones.
Amazon, in particular, has moved more aggressively into CTV this year through its Fire TV offering. The company for the first time opened ad inventory on the service to third-party ad tech firms Dataxu TouchPoint and The Trade Desk in July. While the change reportedly has limitations, it breaks with the typical walled garden approach to advertising commonly enforced by other tech companies like Google and Facebook.