Unruly, the online video marketing company that helped propel the Evian roller-skating babies and T-Mobile’s royal wedding spoof 'Life's for Sharing' to viral fame, has raised $25 million (£16m) in venture funding.
The investment comes from European firms Amadeus Capital Partners, Van den Ende & Deitmers and Business Growth Fund. According to Martijn Hamann, Partner of Van den Ende & Deitmers, Unruly is “strongly positioned to be the winner in the global social video market”. The company rejected interest from US venture capital firms.
Headquartered in the “Silicon Roundabout” area of Shoreditch in central London, Unruly said it will use the investment to accelerate international growth. The company has already opened offices in New York and San Francisco, and plans to expand into Chicago, Berlin and Singapore.
“Today represents an important milestone for the company and social video as a whole,” said Unruly founder and Group CEO Scott Button. “Five years ago, we set out to help brands capture the massive opportunity in social video and we’re delighted that such a distinguished group of investors share our conviction.”
The company claims an audience of 725 million monthly unique users across 74 countries. It has 11,000 media partners and distributes social video campaigns across multiple platforms ranging from YouTube and Facebook to big publishers such as IPC and Bauer Media. Campaigns are built using its RAMP platform, and the company also operates its own Viral Video Chart, which is syndicated to news publishers.
Unruly employs 100 staff across nine offices, and has a revenue run-rate approaching $50 million. The company has been profitable since 2009, but this is the first time it has raised external capital.
“Unruly’s proprietary technology platform and aggressive global growth strategy in a fast-growing market is really impressive,” said Richard Anton, Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners, which has previously invested in Plastic Logic, Icera and Lastminute.com.
The news bodes well for the social video advertising market, which reportedly generated more than 8 billion views from campaigns in 2011, and is predicted to generate 20 billion views in 2012. This round of fundraising by Unruly is estimated to value the company in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
It hasn't all been plane sailing for Unruly, however. Only this week, the company was caught up in the controversy surrounding Google’s campaign for Chrome. Unruly reportedly paid bloggers to run videos about Chrome, violating Google's own policies by influencing Chrome’s search engine rankings.