Is AdTech Alive and Well? NYC Startup Dstillery Just Raised Their $24 Million Series C



Dstillery is a pioneer in marketing technology that provides the best cross-device audience targeting for brands. The company discovers new ways to create brand value for marketers by extracting signals from the complete customer journey and activating them across all screens. Which explains why the six year-old New York-based ad tech company just raised a $24 million in Series C funding.

So, yes, reports of the death of AdTech might be just a bit overblown.

NewSpring Capital led the round, with the participation of previous investors  U.S. Venture Partners,Menlo Ventures and Venrock.

Dstillery COO Andrew Pancer talks about the funding process this time around, and how long-term thinking wins the race.

What was the funding process like?

The process was surprisingly smooth. We enlisted Citi to help us and they did a great job speaking with and identifying potential investors. This allowed Tom Phillips (our CEO) and me to limit the amount of time we spent up front on this effort. Citi was able to bring us in after they already received some baseline interest. We had been through a Series A and Series B before, so we knew what to expect with the due diligence process. We had a very detailed data room ready to go and we were careful to ensure that all of our docs were up to date and accurate. This led to a quick and painless close.

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

We started the process late in Q1. And during our discussions with potential investors, public companies such as Rocket Fuel and Criteo each dropped in value by over 50 percent. This created a tricky environment where there was some concern about valuation we were looking, for as well as future prospects for Ad Tech in general. But NewSpring Capital is thinking long-term. They were impressed by our data science and technology capabilities. And they were also very impressed with our focus on quality. We believe, and they agree, that the long-term winners in our category will be the ones who are providing real results for marketers through quality marketing solutions. So even as competitor valuations were crumbling, they remained focused on points of differentiation and their belief that the market will continue to move in our direction.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

Our investors have seen a massive shift in the market toward programmatic advertising, and in a marketplace that supports several billion dollar company valuations, they saw Dstillery as in a league of its own. Dstillery is the recognized industry leader in scalable data-driven solutions for marketers, and this funding is both a testament to that success and evidence of the trust our investors have in us to build the best multi-platform marketing solution for brands.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Make sure you are able to articulate your position in the market, the opportunity you are going after, and how you will be able to maintain a long term competitive advantage. If you are using an investor deck, show it to a lot of people before you use it for fundraising purposes. Make sure to highlight your successes and any proof points that validate your strengths. Expect to hear ‘no.’ Expect to hear a ton of reasons why the opportunity in the industry is played out. And then ignore all of it and keep moving forward.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

Two key areas: accelerated hiring and strategic acquisitions.

In regards to the former — we have experienced an increased demand from marketers and strategic partners, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, for our leading cross-device intelligence and activation. We have increased our headcount at each of our major office locations — New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. We just recently announced our new sales office in Dallas and are considering other locations with a high concentration of media and technology buyers including Detroit, Seattle and Miami.

Additionally, our acquisition of EveryScreen Media in July 2013 was a huge success. As a result, we are looking at companies in the space that support our mission, strengthen our offerings, meet our high technology standards and are a good cultural fit. Potential acquisition targets include mobile, international and data companies.

According to your analysis, what’s the best bar in New York to kick back after a long day?

Barcade recently opened a NYC location on West 24th. Booze and video games. Is there anything else needed?

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