Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Spot Runner lands $40 million

Spot Runner, a TV ad start-up that puts local shoe stores on national television networks, has announced receiving $40 million in additional funding from CBS, Interpublic Group and other investors.

The company has created a system that identifies unsold TV spots on Bravo, ESPN and the hundreds of other networks that have sprung up in the cable revolution. It then sells them to local businesses. The ads can be broadcast nationwide, but most small businesses buy ads to run only in their region, which costs less.

A 30-second spot, particularly one that's not running at 8 p.m., is cheaper than one might think. In a demonstration in March, founder Nick Grouf logged on to the service and showed how individuals could buy spots on various cable networks for broadcasting in Berkeley, Calif., for around $18. Companies buy spots through a search, point-and-click menu.

"I'd like to buy a spot on ESPN and say, 'I hate football,'" said one French observer at the demonstration.

The low cost comes from the fact that most of these networks have lots of spare inventory. Every one of those promos on the History Channel for "Viking Week" represents 30 seconds that the network failed to sell.

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Monitor110 Raises additional $11m, totals $20M

Monitior110, the pre-launch web monitoring service for hedge fund traders Techcrunch wrote about in September, will announce on Monday that it has closed a Series C round of financing with $11 million from new and existing investors. The company, which will begin offering its product for general subscription early next year after three years of development, has now raised a total of $20 million.

The service tracks information from now 50 million sources, analyzes it for topical relevance and delivers near real time alerts to customers. It focuses on blog, deep web and static web changes. Topical expertise evaluation is an important part of the secret sauce.

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