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Open Source Ad Management Firm Aims for U.S. Expansion

  |  January 18, 2008   |  Comments

Openads plans to use a $15.5 million second round investment for product development and support.

Open-source ad server software provider Openads aims to use the $15.5 million in investor funds it's just raised for product development and support. The London-based company has released a hosted version of its software in beta, removing the need for publishers to install the platform on their own servers.

The free Openads software allows publishers to insert, target and manage ads in a variety of formats and monitor campaign performance. It also supports ads from external networks such as Google AdSense, Yahoo and AOL's Advertising.com.

"Openads focuses on the needs of the publisher, and helps them see more of their revenue," said Openads CEO James Bilefield. "Our hosted software will allow us to reach an even broader market, and increase simplicity further for publishers."

The company will continue providing the hosted version entirely for free, so it hopes in the future to generate revenue through the development of premium offerings based around its free services. Bilefield did not specify what the premiums might be, however.

Publishers currently using the Openads software include Sun Microsystems, Web-based messaging platform provider eBuddy, and media industry publication Paid Content. Interestingly, a story published earlier this week on Paid Content's UK site noted, "We [Paid Content] use the software to serve ads currently, but are moving away to a commercial software." Paid Content would not comment further regarding the decision.

Although it is unclear why Paid Content might be planning to use a different ad management platform, oftentimes as publications grow, they choose to graduate up to more robust systems. When asked how Openads measures up to other platforms on the market, Bilefield was adamant that the Openads software is comparable to commercial offerings, and said it offers 80 percent of the functionality of DoubleClick's popular Dart ad management platform.

The second investment round of $15.5 million is led by US-based Accel Partners, with additional funding from existing backers Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Openads' $5 million first round in June was led by Index with contributions from all of the aforementioned investors except Accel.

"Although the software is international thanks to the nature of open-source, our biggest market going forwards is really in the US," said Bilefield. According to Openads, the software is currently used by over 30,000 publishers in more than 100 countries.

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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011. 

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