With most predictions showing smart TV is the future of television, people are beginning to make the switch and love it. But what does this mean for the huge industry of TV ads? While most companies aren’t think that far ahead, Brightline is already there. With the most advanced TV adtech software called InCAST, the company is seasoned and prepared to transition to a whole new viewing experience. With an eye towards market leadership, Brightline is looking to the future.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and cofounder Jacqueline Corbelli about the company’s latest round and how they plan to use it.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We completed a $20 million Series A funding round. The lead investor behind this round is Fundamental Global Investors chairman Joe Moglia, also the chairman and former CEO of TD Ameritrade.
Tell us about your product or service.
BrightLine supports the $150 billion TV ecosystem. We have the market’s most powerful Advanced TV technology suite for advertisers and publishers, called InCAST. Together with our broadcast and cable network and OTT platform partners in place, InCAST allows marketers to take advantage of the entire scale of OTT, Connected TV and Smart TV advertising opportunities. We power the TV ads that change the way brands can interact with consumers and offer them a personalized experience.
What inspired you to start the company?
My co-founder Robert Aksman and I love TV! We love the range of high-quality entertainment that TV has to offer. We wanted to bring greater engagement and a new dimension to the TV everywhere world and marketing experience. We saw a lot of advertising models being rolled out for the Internet and mobile, but nothing that was structured for the TV ecosystem at scale. So we built it.
How is it different?
Simply, BrightLine’s solution brings advertisers Advanced TV solutions at scale. BrightLine’s InCAST solution is the industry’s Advanced TV technology suite that gives marketers a plug-and-play capability to take advantage of the entire scale of Over-The-Top (OTT), connected TV and Smart TV advertising opportunities. We are wired into leading broadcast and cable stations such as AMC, A&E, CBS, Discovery, ESPN, Fox, Hulu, MTV and VH1. We are the leading system for OTT delivery platforms including Roku, Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We service Fortune 100 brands, their agency partners, and also media publishers. We aim to bring the power of Advanced TV to all advertisers that want to make the most of the TV Everywhere world. TV is a $150 billion media marketplace and we aim to support media publishers and brands to make the most of that opportunity.
What’s your business model?
We support the broadcast and cable publishers and OTT delivery platforms as they roll out Advanced TV media inventory. Our Advanced TV ad units are sold on a CPM basis.
The company was founded 13 years ago. How has the advertising landscape changed in that time and where do you see it going?
We started the company to help publishers and brands develop interactive TV strategies. The world of interactive TV has now evolved and scaled into the era of streaming. Now we can roll out a rich and powerful list of ad solutions for engagement on TV at scale.
What was the funding process like?
We were fortunate to get introduced to new investors that share the same vision as ours. Joe Moglia completely understands the power of Advance TV and realized the opportunity. We are excited to work with such supportive partners.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
I think like any company, the dance between raising capital and growing the day-to-day business is always challenging. I am really thankful that we have such a great team that came together to close round while continuing to grow the business.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our excellent business growth record, our strong value proposition for marketers, and the market potential, especially with the explosive growth of OTT channels. Also, they loved that our technology can offer a scaled solution for advertisers in that we are the only player that can deliver Advanced TV solutions at scale across multiple broadcasters and cable stations as well as all the major delivery platforms.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
The next six to twelve months are going to be really exciting as we roll out innovative solutions for clients on Hulu as well as all of our premium partners.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
We are entrepreneurs and went through the bootstrap, work in the kitchen and garage stage. Now we are accelerating our growth. It’s a crazy journey that entrepreneurs embark on and it requires resilience and passion. If you know that you have a great idea but cannot raise the funds, bootstrap and show the world what you can do. If you are getting traction with clients and generating a healthy revenue stream, be aggressive on your plans to scale.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are focused on scaling and innovating Advanced TV solutions for advertising clients. We love to innovate and are already envisioning the next phase of Connected TV. The market is never static.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
So many great restaurants that I love…lately I haven’t had a lot of time for them as we’ve been heads down at the company. I do love my coffee tonics in the new Northern Food Hall at Grand Central Station though.