Spot Runner Adds to War Chest, May Move Into Print

Spot Runner has closed another large investment round, and will use the money to support acquisitions and international expansion. It may also move into traditional media it hasn’t yet serviced, such as print.

“With this investment we’re saying we believe there’s great applicability of our model across a broader spectrum of media, and across a broader geographic footprint than the United States,” said Chairman and CEO Nick Grouf.

The broadcast and online ad platform has cobbled together $51 million from a group of investors that includes Spanish-language broadcast giant Grupo Televisa, British print conglomerate Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), luxury brands company Groupe Arnault/LVMH, and investment firm Legg Mason Capital Management, which also has stakes in Yahoo and Amazon.

The cross-media ad platform will deposit the sum into a war chest it will use to fund acquisitions and international expansion. It has already swallowed two companies this year: search and lead generation firm Weblistic and GlobeShooter, a network of independent video producers.

Grouf said Spot Runner chose its investment partners for their potential contribution to its product and business development processes. Groupe Arnault/LVMH owns high-end brands such as MoËt & Chandon, Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, and TAG Heuer. DMGT meanwhile has insight into the needs of local advertisers, a very different group. Spot Runner believes it can serve all parties.

“By solving problems for small businesses we’ve actually solved some very difficult targeting problems for some of the largest global brands,” Grouf claimed.

As it expands, Spot Runner may also open new lines of business in media where it hasn’t yet operated, including print.

“Businesses don’t think, I want to be in print, or be online, or on TV. They think I want to [grow my revenue],” he said. “What we’re doing right now is trying to learn more about how to make our advertisers successful. To the extent that print is part of that [purpose] we will help them with that focus.”

As it grows, Spot Runner has proven itself adept at drawing top talent; the firm recently reeled in Joanne Bradford, formerly chief media officer at MSN Media Network, and Mark Rosenthal, ex-CEO of Interpublic Media.

The investment is the company’s third or fourth, depending on how they’re counted. Earlier funding rounds have come from CBS, Index Ventures, The Interpublic Group, and WPP, among others. Some of those firms also participated in the current round.

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